Senior Diplomats Retaking Foreign Policy
Senior career diplomats are retaking control of key elements of U.S. foreign policy and have begun to assert significant influence as the Bush administration enters its waning months eager to salvage a legacy marred by the Iraq war.Since assuming the helm at the State Department in 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has installed veteran foreign service officers with more than 200 years of collective diplomatic experience in seven critical posts from the Middle East to South Asia and the Far East.
By contrast, their immediate predecessors had just 72 years of combined experience and five of them were Republican political operatives with limited or no background in diplomacy, according to an Associated Press survey of senior agency appointees.
What is curious about this article is its implicit criticism of Colin Powell and his top aide, Lawrence Wilkerson. This criticism is implicit because it refers to appointees of Powell’s as having quite limited foreign policy experience as compared to Condoleeza Rice’s appointees. Furthermore, the article implies that Powell’s appointees were more sympathetic to the neocons than Rice’s appointees are. This is damned strange, because Wilkerson has long articulated his opposition to the neocon agenda, while Rice as National Security Advisor implemented the neocons’s agenda. The State Department under Powell has been (for the most part, at least) widely considered to have been recalcitrant towards the neocons’s agenda. Rice, meanwhile, has (again, for the most part) has been seen as Bush II’s agent dispatched to wrest more control over a bureaucracy that is (again, for the most part) seen as hostile (or, at the very least, dubious) to the neocons’s agenda.
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