Condoleezza Rice served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush from 2005 - 2009, and previous to that as his National Security Advisor. Her service on the National Security Council as the Soviet and Eastern Europe Affairs Advisor during the dissolution of the Soviet Union makes her expertise on contemporary U.S. foreign policy towards that region unparalleled.

In the Greater Middle East, Rice's policy of "transformational diplomacy" focused on expanding the number of responsible democratic governments. Although her initiatives have since faced challenges in recent years, her ideas have put her on TIME Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People list four times.

Her views are considered to be extensions of the models defined by former Republican secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James Baker.

We thought that Kissinger's endorsement of her during her time in office in an interview with author David Samuels was touching:

Samuels: You would agree that Dr. Rice has many qualities that are admirable. She's kind. She's bright. She's diligent. She keeps her balance day by day and moment by moment.

Kissinger: Nobody would say that about me ; )