Good interview from the Atlantic. Powell comes off as a sensible guy, the same sense one gets from his autobiography.
Powell mentions meeting with the ambassador of an unnamed former Soviet Republic:
He was quite sophisticated. And he was going on and on about all the things they’re doing. “Our economy is booming, we want to do more with NATO, but you guys keep ignoring us,” blah, blah, blah. He said, “What do we have to do?” I said, “Have one decent presidential election.” And so these guys, it’s not that they are ignorant, they know what they have to do. It’s just that it’s a bitch for them to do it. So they almost like it when I lecture them. They don’t like being screamed at and I don’t scream at them. I just take them through it. They need it because they have got to be able to go home and say to people, you know, “This is what the guy told me.”
I like this synopsis, too:
I think our historical position is we are a superpower that cannot be touched in this generation by anyone in terms of military power, economic power, the strength of our political system and our values system. What we would like to see is a greater understanding of power, of the democratic system, the open market economic system, the rights of men and women to achieve their destiny as God has directed them to do if they are willing to work for it. And we really do not wish to go to war with people. But, by God, we will have the strongest military around. And that’s not a bad thing to have. It encourages and champions our friends that are weak and it chills the ambitions of the evil.
I still maintain that Bush made good appointments, and that Powell was one of them.