Condoleezza Rice, who served as national security adviser and then secretary of state for President George W. Bush, can’t be pinned down with a neat ideological label. Here are the top 5 surprising things she told a crowd speaking at an event put on by the Queens University of Charlotte’s Learning Society:
5. Being commissioner of the National Football League is no longer her dream job. It used to be. She told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently that when she was in the middle of fights with the Iranians and the Russians, his job looked pretty good. But now that she’s back in northern California as a professor at Stanford, Goodell’s battles don’t look as enticing.
4. China has little chance of taking world supremacy away from the United States. China has made great strides incredibly quickly. But it’s not a free society and won’t achieve greatness until it is. China executed its head of product safety after a string of incidents. “Not a long-term solution,” Rice said. The government hacks into computers across the country, she said, hunting for any lone human rights advocate. The Arab Spring, which started with the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, has been fueled in part by the Internet and social networking, Rice said. But in China, three words that cannot be found on the Internet, she said, are “Jasmine, Revolution and Egypt.”
3. The Arab Spring is up there with 9/11 and the global financial crisis as great shocks shaping the world. The average American knows the movement against Middle East dictators is important, but few, we bet, would put that up with 9/11 and the recession.
2. America is wrong to be so anti-immigrant. Immigrants have made this country great, and can continue to do so, she said. A top Russian official boasted to Rice that it had the best minds in technology. “Yes,” Rice said, “unfortunately, they’re all working in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv.” She told the Observer earlier that her biggest regret from her time in the Bush administration was the failure of comprehensive immigration reform to pass. “Sometimes I don’t understand the conversation we’re having about immigration,” she said Tuesday. “When did immigrants become the enemy?”
1. The greatest national security crisis facing the United States? Not al-Qaida. Not Iran. Not North Korea. It’s the crisis in K-12 education. In all her travels around the world, she found that America was admired because of the “Log Cabin” idea: that you can rise from humble beginnings to do great things. Her own parents convinced her that even though she couldn’t order a hamburger at Woolworth’s, she could grow up to be president of the United States, or secretary of state. She wants to tell kids today that it’s not where you come from, it’s where you’re going that matters. Unfortunately, Rice said, she can tell most kids where they’re going just by looking in which ZIP code they grow up.
-- Taylor Batten