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Gordon Corera
"Foreign intervention is likely to be more selective "
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Monday, 18 December, 2000, 13:00 GMT
Condoleezza Rice: Rising star

Condi Rice tutored George Bush in foreign policy
The newly-appointed US national security adviser is likely to be the most influential black woman in the history of US government.

Condoleezza Rice will be responsible for providing policy advice directly to the president, in coordination with the State Department, the Defence Department and the CIA.

[Condoleezza Rice] can explain to me foreign policy matters in a way I can understand

George W Bush
The 46-year-old Ms Rice - or Condi, as she is often known - has already developed a close relationship with George W Bush, working as his private tutor in foreign policy during the campaign.

Mr Bush has described her as the person who "can explain to me foreign policy matters in a way I can understand".

US affairs analyst Gordon Corera says in the past, presidents have sometimes trusted their national security adviser more than the secretary of state. Henry Kissinger, for example, effectively ran Richard Nixon's foreign policy when he was national security adviser.

However he adds that Mr Bush's secretary of state, Gen Colin Powell, with his impressive military history, is likely to be the dominant foreign policy figure in the next administration.

Ms Rice will not be the first African American to hold the job of national security adviser - Colin Powell did that in the final year of the Reagan administration - but she will be the first woman.

Rice alarms Nato

Ms Rice served under Mr Bush's father, when she worked on Soviet and East European issues at the National Security Council.

She has a reputation of being thoroughly charming, with nerves of steel, and has enjoyed a very successful career.

But although she is a Russian and European expert, she has little experience dealing with some other parts of the world.

US Nato soldier in Balkans
US troops could withdraw from the Balkans under the Bush administration
She has also already managed to alarm the US's Nato allies, by adovating withdrawing US troops from Bosnia and Kosovo, and criticising the Clinton administration for supporting too many foreign interventions.

During the campaign, she said that Mr Bush would preside over a gradual recall of US troops from the Balkans, leaving Europe to manage the Nato peacekeeping mission in the region.

US troops make up about a fifth of the 65,00-strong Nato peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia.

She has indicated that under the Bush plan, the US will focus its military energies on the Persian Gulf, Asia, and other regions in which America's national interests are directly involved.

'Humility with strength'

However, Ms Rice is considered less isolationist than some leading Republicans, and persuaded Mr Bush to stop Republican moves in Congress to set a date for a US withdrawal from Bosnia and Kosovo.

I've been pressed to understand parts of the world that have not been part of my scope. I'm really a Europeanist.

Condoleezza Rice
She has said she will work to promote Mr Bush's vision of combining "humility with strength" around the world.

One of her top defence priorities appears to be the controversial national missile defence system, which is intended to provide the US with an anti-ballistic missile umbrella.

Driven to achieve

Ms Rice was brought up in a segregated bourgeois neighbourhood in Birmingham, Alabama.

Although her grandfather was a poor cotton-farmer, her parents were both teachers at segregated schools, and pushed their daughter to achieve from an early age.

She soon became an accomplished classical pianist and ice skater, and graduated from college at 19.

She started her political life as a Democrat, but changed sides in 1982, disillusioned with Jimmy Carter's policies in Afghanistan.

Ms Rice was the first woman and first African-American to become a provost of Stanford University.

During her time at Stanford she was criticised for not doing enough to promote diversity.

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See also:

23 Nov 00 | Americas
Cheney 'fine' after heart attack
25 Jul 00 | Americas
Dick Cheney - Bush's elder statesman
26 Oct 00 | Americas
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22 Oct 00 | Americas
Candidates clash over Balkans role
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