Thursday, March 16, 2006

Why President Cheney is having the last laugh?














Is it possible that Cheney and his aide John Hannah are reading out loud the first sentence -- "The Dick Cheney era of foreign policy is over" -- in Look Who's Running the World Now which was published in The Washington Post over the weekend? In the article, one of Washington's leading brown nosers, David J. Rothkopf, asserts that "Cheney's influence has waned in the White House" since President Bush
no longer depends on the vice president as he did in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when Bush was still learning national security on the job and the nation was in crisis. The president today is better schooled [?], more experienced and more confident. Second, Rumsfeld, who is Cheney's staunchest supporter after the president and whose vacation home is just a few steps away from Cheney's on Maryland's Eastern Shore, has lost a lot of his clout. No longer the center of attention, as he was during the offensives in Afghanistan and Iraq, Rumsfeld has legions of his own detractors.

Here where Rothkopf hopes to win a few brownie-nose points:"
Now, Rice is in her ascendancy at State. Diplomatic, thoughtful and a good listener, she is the Un-Cheney. She has the ear and trust of the president and she has been embraced by U.S. allies for her efforts to repair the damage to ties frayed by first-term policies.

And this:
One longtime associate of Hadley who worked closely with him in this administration says, "Steve is very, very, very, very, very, very, very [that's all?] cautious. He is a lawyer not just by training but by disposition." Despite traditional rivalries between the NSC and State, one State Department official said, "My only concern is whether he is too invisible, whether the administration wouldn't be better off if he were more out in front on the issues."

But when reading the following is when Cheney and Hannah are having a very, very, very, very, very, very, BIG LAUGH:
As it happens, the Bush administration devoted itself to containing the weapons of mass destruction threat of a terrorist-supporting Gulf state during its first term. Now diplomacy, however frustrating, has replaced preemption even though the administration is now facing such a threat, this time more real than imagined.

And this is from today Washington Post
President Bush issued a new national security strategy today reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled U.S. experience in Iraq.
The long-overdue document, an articulation of U.S. strategic priorities that is required by law, lays out a robust view of America's power and an assertive view of its responsibility to bring change around the world. On topics including genocide, human trafficking and AIDS, the strategy describes itself as "idealistic about goals and realistic about means."
The strategy expands on the original security framework developed by the Bush administration in September 2002, before the invasion of Iraq. That strategy shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the United States.
The preemption doctrine generated fierce debate at the time, and many critics believe the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq fatally undermined an essential assumption of the strategy -- that intelligence about an enemy's capabilities and intentions can be sufficient to justify preventive war.
In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document continues. "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."
Such language could be seen as provocative at a time when the United States and its European allies have brought Iran before the U.N. Security Council to answer allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons. At a news conference in January, Bush described an Iran with nuclear arms as a "grave threat to the security of the world."
In a letter introducing the new strategy document, Bush also said, "We fight our enemies abroad instead of waiting for them to arrive in our country. We seek to shape the world, not merely be shaped by it; to influence events for the better instead of being at their mercy."
Some security specialists criticized the continued commitment to preemption.
"Preemption is and always will be a potentially useful tool, but it's not something you want to trot out and throw in everybody's face," said Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "To have a strategy on preemption and make it central is a huge error."
A military attack against Iran, for instance, could be "foolish," Ullman said, and it would be better to seek other ways to influence its behavior. "I think most states are deterrable."

As I noted in earlier posts, Rothkopf has been one of many pundits who have been predicting/wishful-thinking that Cheney and the neocons were on their way out, and that Rice the "realist" was now in control. Dr. Srauss describes Rice's "realism" as cosmetic, as "Bushism with a 'human face.'" I call it "Chenism for suckers."

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