I met Condi today.
First of all, let me say that this is not an April Fools joke, even though today is April 1st.
Condoleezza Rice visited my dorm, Freshman-Sophomore College (or FroSoCo for short), to give a 1 hour talk about foreign policy and take our questions. She was invited to speak here by our awesome Dean, John Bravman, who is also the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education and my academic advisor, too.
She rolled up to our dorm at 6pm with at least 3 security guards. Yes, they all had the little secret agent earpieces in their ears! They escorted her into our dorm’s lounge through the back patio entrance to a waiting crowd of about 90 students. Dean Bravman introduced her and everyone applauded loudly.
She started her talk with her experiences during and immediately following 9/11. She briefly mentioned the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, glossing over these difficult and frankly not-so-fun-to-talk-about topics. She also discussed her involvement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which provides developmental assistance to developing countries.
About the job of Secretary of State, she said:
“It is the best job in government.”
One of her central arguments was that she — along with everyone else in the Bush administration — did the best jobs they could with the knowledge they had at the time, which might be true. She also talked about how it’s difficult to judge what people will think of the Bush Administration in the long term. Right…
As she put it:
“History’s arc is long. And, as we look back and try to judge events as they happened over the last turbulent eight years — and it’s going to be partly my job to try to do that in the book that I’m writing — I think it’s important to remember that the arc is very long.”
Who knows… maybe after she gets done with her book, history will be sufficiently re-written that Bush and company will be looked back on as one of the greatest administrations in U.S. history. Unlikely.
Overall, it was great to meet Condi. She was smart, funny, and a really nice person.
Though I don’t agree with most of her policies, she is nonetheless an extremely nice person, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to meet such an accomplished diplomat in person, shake her hand, and get such awesome pictures!
(If you liked this, you might like Travels in Japan.)