Monday, November 15, 2004
Colin Powell stepped down today. Word in Washington was that despite his willingness to serve in a second Bush term, he decided to pack it in. It has been a brutal four years for Powell. His defeats have been highlighted, while his victories have been muddled, at best. The press never forgave him for going to bat for Bush at the U.N. in March of 2003, and the sting of that has left its mark.
Damn George Tenet and his clown-car organization anyway.
Anyway, spilt milk and all that. Powell has left, and now Bush has moved to sieze control of the apparatus at State. To achieve that end, he will send in the Iron Butterfly herself, Condoleezza Rice. Rice wanted to move up or out, and she preferred Defense (or so it's said). However, the GWOT has as much of a diplomatic element as it has a military one, so I anticipate a lot of action coming out of her shape. She's ambitious, and wants to leave her mark.
Personally, I am convinced that she is being groomed by Bush to go up against Hillary in 2008. Armed Liberal and Roger L. Simon agree, although A.L. believes her to be "the most divisive political figure in America today", an observation I have a hard time figuring out. I believe that she will grow into a positive role model for good in America, and would hammer the junior Senator from New York in any election.
For the near term, Rice's objective must be to take control of a Department that has become an insurgent arm of the Democratic Party. In so doing, she must be willing to send wayward leakers to the Kolyma when necessary. Her rear is secure at NSC: her protege Stephen Hadley will take over her post as National Security Advisor. Her access to the President will be instantaneous, through both personal contact and through Hadley. She will not have the conflicts with Rumsfeld that Powell did, if only because Rumsfeld's star is in the wane and her's is ascendant. Finally, a presidential ally, Porter Goss, has been given the green light to send in the NKVD over at Langley and conduct a blood purge of his own. A lot of the dead weight are leaving town at CIA, and none too soon.
Picture this: a Marin County mindfuck master goes to Yemen, studies the Koran, gets invited to Pakistan by a jihadist friend, then gets an audience with the Emir himself. Meantime, the Agency can't penetrate Al Qaeda to save its life in a period of ten years. Someone please page Josef Stalin....
Bush is moving fast. Laverenti Beria would be proud if he wasn't so dead.
Were I Dr. Rice, I would try to convince Bush to place Secretary Powell at the Court of St. James to keep the General in close proximity to Tony Blair and Jack Straw at the Foreign Office. Indeed, Powell could be made ambassador to Great Britain and given the Palestine portfolio, which would give Blair a boost and Powell a chance to build a legacy. A settlement for the Palestinians helps our cause in the Islamic World, and has the side virtue of keeping Greg Djerejian happy.
What does this mean for policy? As a loyalist, Rice will pursue the larger Bush strategic plan of destroying Islamic fascism through elections, democracy, and popular soveriegnty. People who don't care for little brown folks ruling themselves will be purged. This President really believes in proclaiming liberty throughout the world. So does the new Secretary of State.
Iraq will be pursued to the end. In the near term, a tough "weapons free" policy will prevail as U.S. units go toe-to-toe with the jihadi, and kill them. In the longer term, Rice will pursue elections in Iraq to confer legitimacy on the Allawi government and the Shi'a ascendancy of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. She will pursue a tough policy vis-a-vis Syria, but will offer sweets along the lines of a new trading relationship with the West as well as a return of much of the Golan.
Two problems: Iran and North Korea. Both have active nuclear weapons programs. Rice will need to pursue multilateral approaches to both nations as she cannot hope to build support for military action against either power in the absence of some overt act by the mullahs or Kim. The fact that we didn't find WMD in Iraq constrains our future action. It cannot be seen to constrain our future action, however, lest we be taken advantage of by nefarious Chinese Mens, Eurotrash, and Mohammedans.
Finally, Rice is mystically attached to Russia. I have thought for some time that Condi aims to conclude a resurrected Grand Alliance among the United States, Great Britain, and the Russian Republic. That alliance won the Second World War in Europe and the Pacific. Each power has an interest in defeating the Islamic Fascist movement; each would have trouble proceeding alone. To do so, we'll need military command and intelligence sharing among the three powers, as well as a common diplomatic approach to the Islamic world.
Bet on this: the liberals have been screaming that Bush is a unilateralist Hitlerite since he was inaugurated back in 2001. That hyperbole is about to be stood on its head.