by Jay Nordlinger

She said that the Pennsylvania plane — you know what I mean by that — was “driven into the ground by brave citizens who died so that others might live.” Powerfully stated.

“Dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response.” Very interesting for an ex-secretary of state to have fingered China and Russia like that. Good. Frank.

And the world wonders, said Condi, “Where does America stand?” Yes, they do — and that is dangerous both for the world and for the U.S. One could elaborate, over hundreds of pages . . .

She acknowledged that there is a “weariness” among Americans — “a sense that we have carried these burdens,” meaning burdens of leadership, “long enough.” But, she continued, “if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen: No one will lead, and that will foster chaos; or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum.”

I believe that is true — a hard and necessary truth to know.

She spoke of people who need to be spoken up for: “the religious dissident in China; the democracy advocate in Venezuela; the political prisoner in Iran.” I particularly liked the Venezuelan example — remembering that President Obama once clasped Hugo Chávez’s hand, giving him a soul-brother handshake, and called him “mi amigo.”

The Obama administration simply does not do human rights. Too W.-like?

Rice pronounces “ally” and “allies” in the British fashion, with the accent on the second syllable. (I’m talking about the nouns now.) How did that happen? (Haig did the same thing. He also pronounced “decade” with the accent on the second syllable. And he pronounced the second syllable of “again” exactly like “gain.”)

Interesting for Rice to have spoken about energy — so crucial an issue, and one on which the Democratic and Republican parties are poles apart: “We must not allow the chance to attain energy independence to slip from our grasp. We have a great gift of oil and gas reserves here in North America that must be and can be developed while protecting our environment.” Yes, yes.

Did you get a load of this? “Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have not believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well. We have not been envious of one another and jealous of each other’s success. Ours has been a belief in opportunity and a constant battle — long and hard — to extend the benefits of the American dream to all — without regard to circumstances of birth.”

Perfect. And that word “grievance” — she used it at least once more. The defeat of the grievance culture is vital to American health and harmony.

“We need to have high standards for our students. Self-esteem comes from achievement, not from lax standards and false praise.”

Perfect. “False praise”! Who talks like that, who tells such truths?

Last year, I heard Condoleezza Rice speak at a Reagan centennial event. Her speech was good, shockingly good — both in its content and in its execution. I said, “When did she become a great speaker? Has she always been?” Well, maybe that’s true: She gave an excellent speech at the Republican convention in 2000. On that occasion, she said she was glad to belong to a party that “sees me as an individual, not as part of a group.”

Some weeks ago, she gave a speech in Utah at a Romney gathering that had people saying, “Why shouldn’t she be veep?” She wowed ’em, brought ’em to their feet.

It will be interesting to see what Rice does in coming years. She is a young ex-secretary of state, as Henry Kissinger was. Her biggest passion, it seems to me, is education. Long has been. She brought this up with me when I first interviewed her, in the late 1990s. Many American kids, especially black and poor ones, are being denied a decent education — not just a good education, but even a minimally acceptable one. And that is a raw deal.

Odd that her tenure as secretary of state was so flat, or flat-seeming. A discussion for another day (as in previous days) . . .

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