Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Foreign policy realists

A great many of experts in the foreign policy arena are weighing in with strong criticisms of the Bush administration. Yesterday I linked to Melvin Laird in the upcoming Foreign Affairs. Soon I will read Brent Scowcroft in the New Yorker.

Former Powell Chief of Staff Lawrence B. Wilkerson has also been on the warpath. In today's Los Angeles Times he writes of the foreign policy cabal in the White House.

But it's absolutely true. I believe that the decisions of this cabal were sometimes made with the full and witting support of the president and sometimes with something less. More often than not, then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice was simply steamrolled by this cabal.

Its insular and secret workings were efficient and swift — not unlike the decision-making one would associate more with a dictatorship than a democracy. This furtive process was camouflaged neatly by the dysfunction and inefficiency of the formal decision-making process, where decisions, if they were reached at all, had to wend their way through the bureaucracy, with its dissenters, obstructionists and "guardians of the turf."

I think we can assume that Wilkerson believes the ways of the past, and of his former boss, were superior to this cabal:

Today, we have a president whose approval rating is 38% and a vice president who speaks only to Rush Limbaugh and assembled military forces. We have a secretary of Defense presiding over the death-by-a-thousand-cuts of our overstretched armed forces (no surprise to ignored dissenters such as former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki or former Army Secretary Thomas White).

It's a disaster. Given the choice, I'd choose a frustrating bureaucracy over an efficient cabal every time.


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

I too wouldn't give Bush good marks on foreign policy - especially his misunderstandings on Islam.

But hmm - who brought on these "overstretched" armed forces for starters?

5:07 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...


I jest, sort of.

Hey, you really can't blame a lot of presidents (or two of them) as even the generals now realize that this was no two major combat operations force.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Bassizzzt said...

During the Clinton administration, the armed forces were seriously cut back in funding. Even before that, the liberals attacked the idea of having a 600 ship Navy. There was fervent words against growth in our armed forces.

But technically, I don't blame Clinton. I blame the ignorance that was brought on with the savage complacency that went on when the Soviet Union fell. Sure, we all cheered when that happened but we didn't watch our six.

To many Americans, our sworn enemies were defeated, whilst unbeknownst to most of us, we were actually fueling our future enemies in Afghanistan, trying to help them bleed the Soviets dry.

It worked, but look at the legacy it has left behind - a brand new enemy, and even our president calls their religion a religion of peace.

What a crock of s--t. I really wish Bush would stop listening to his pig-headed advisor that told him to say that about Islam; it's very embarrassing and with me it goes over like a fart in church.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Bassizzzt said...

I think I will now blog on my last words here.

12:00 AM  

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