Who Will be Deputy Secretary of State?

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(Who will get former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick’s job?)
The real answer to this question is that R. Nicholas Burns should be. If not Burns, then the person Condi should nominate is US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.
I tried to distance myself from Burns some time ago and gave him some tongue-in-cheek critique on his performance as a way to boost his credentials for the Cheney wing of the White House, but too many people got confused by my silly attempt at reverse psychology.
I had been told that if this blog — which is read by many in the State Department and White House — was too friendly to Burns that it would hurt him politically. But too many people thought I really didn’t like him and that’s no good.
I do like Nick Burns. I think that he is the best diplomat that we have working for the government right now, and he is working in crappy circumstances, trying to make the most out of the fact that the White House for whom it works is better at destroying nations than constructing stable national and regional order.
Condi Rice needs a Deputy Secretary of State — not only to help manage the sprawling needs of the Department but also to be another high-level persona working out deals with areas of the world that are in crisis. The fact is that Rice is too high profile to be the micro-level problem solver. A Deputy can get into the grit of problems and work them out. Richard Armitage did this frequently, and by many accounts, brilliantly — when he wasn’t occupied gossiping to reporters about Valerie Plame (needed to get this in).
Rice now has two super high level fronts open that she needs to confront — one is North Korea and the other is Iran. Then of course, there is the nearly boiling over mess in Iraq, the destabilization of Afghanistan, the empowerment of Hezbollah and destabilization of Lebanon, the ulcerous standoff beween Israel and Palestine. This doesn’t even get to Darfur, the Congo, Sierra Leone, and many other problems around the world — including the czarification of Putin’s administration in Russia.
She needs a Deputy, fully empowered to get American foreign policy back into a “proactive” position and out of the “reactive” mode America finds itself in now.
So, who are the candidates?
They have been:

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1. R. Nicholas Burns
Burns and Kimmitt were reportedly Condi Rice’s top personal choices for the Deputy job. Burns has been stymied by whisper campaigns from the John Bolton camp and the mistrust of the Cheney wing of the foreign policy establishment. Some think that Condi is just waiting until after the election and until “all other possibilities” have been exhausted before making a push to resolve the vacancy and use her political capital to elevate Burns.
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2. Robert Kimmitt
Bob Kimmitt is currently Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and has one of the most impressive resumes of international service among those in government. He is a realist and is (or was) high on Condi’s list. He had some interest in moving to State as well as Kimmitt’s background helped fill out the capacity and skill set at Treasury when the more domestically focused John Snow was Treasury Secretary. Now that former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson has the Hamilton perch in government, Kimmitt’s skills and interests are redundant and trumped by the boss. He also would be grilled on the Dubai Ports deal complicating confirmation.
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3. Philip Zelikow
Zelikow is very close to Condi Rice and serves as her Counselor. He is brainy and often perceived to be arrogant. I have worked with him in the past in Atlantic Council study groups, though not closely, He ran the 9/11 Commission and is a real player in the foreign policy arena. While Condi Rice allegedly would be “fine” with Zelikow shifting to the Deputy slot, the rank and file of the State Department have let her know that there could be mass unrest within the bureaucracy as Zelikow is not “appreciated” in the Department as an advocate of the department’s interests. While I don’t have a problem with Zelikow and appreciate his intellect, I don’t see him as the kind of problem solver and deal maker that the Deputy slot needs.
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4. Eric Edelman
Edelman is the dark horse candidate for the job. He’s not particularly well known but those who do know him like him and respect his management ability. Edelman is reportedly favored by the Cheney wing of the foreign policy establishment but is also someone Condi Rice likes and can work with. This kind of compromise candidate may be what defines the eventual holder of the position — but its unclear what Edelman’s policy focus or approach to the job might be. Edelman is currently Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and former US Ambassador to Turkey. He also has some Scooter Libby-related baggage that could aggravate confirmation.

I don’t know if there have been others on a short list — but the one I have not seen but who should be on the list is Zalmay Khalilzad, our current Ambassador to Iraq and just prior to that, Afghanistan.
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As one former senior diplomat told me last night about Khalilzad, “he is not known for his management abilities.” But that is not why one would want Khalilzad.
We need deal-makers who know how to constructively wrestle with Iran, which Khalilzad did when Ambassador to Afghanistan and when Iran was collaborating with us behind the scenes to arm and train the Afghan army.
Khalilzad knows all of the major clerics and tribal chieftains in Iraq and Afghanistan and is well acquainted with the factional chiefs in Iran. He knows the Syrian leadership and has a better sense of nearly anyone else in the administration what is happening inside Lebanon.
His relationships with the more moderate Sunni led governments in the region are excellent, and he has legitimacy in their eyes as a fair broker of interests, understands the constraints and realities of creating legitimacy in the eyes of publics, is aware that America has a rap of playing to heavy a hand in the region — and as a Muslim, is trusted to be fair-minded in any Israel-Palestine effort.
Khalilzad also has his own relationship with Bush and often meets with the President alone when he comes back to Washington. This has apparently produced some “testiness” with Condi Rice — who has had some friction with Khalilzad in the past.
But Rice needs a bigger team of people she largely trusts to give her more edge in the policy development and implementation process — and Khalilzad has those networks and capabilities.
As an original PNAC member, Khalilzad is also appreciated by some neocons, though he is really much more of a pragmatist in his thinking and writing.
Here is one piece of his titled “Ten Lessons for Nation Building” that was derived from an article, “How to Nation-Build” in the Summer 2005 issue of National Interest.
I think our State Department would be well-served by Nick Burns.
But if that just isn’t going to work out, Zalmay Khalilzad adds capacity in many areas — particularly public diplomacy in the Muslim world — that call for him to be appointed to this job.
— Steve Clemons
P.S. I had confirmation today from a high level source in the Department of State that sees the Bolton Battle “as basically finished.” So, if Khalilzad has too complicated a relationship with Condi to move into the Deputy Sec State role, then send Khalilzad to the United Nations.

Comments

41 comments on “Who Will be Deputy Secretary of State?

  1. angryinch says:

    Wow, i always wondered what happened to Wally Cox. Thanks for updating us.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    “Apologize”? Sorry man. Not gonna happen. I have apologized to you before. When it was warranted. This is NOT one of those occassions.
    You advanced an opinion, and I rebutted with a request for clarification. If that bugs you, then maybe you oughta be writing speeches for Monkey Boy. He doesn’t deal well with disagreement either.
    The AIPAC question is reasonable, and deserves an answer.
    And it is in fact YOU that once told me that the Reid camp was upset by some of your comments.
    And it is also YOU that once assured me that you would clarify WHY it is that you have such respect for Reid. Believe it or not, I have waited for that clarification, because I expected you to stand by your word. You didn’t.
    You may not realize it, but the issues you DON’T address on this blog say as much about you as the issues you DO address.

    Reply

  3. Steve Clemons says:

    To all —
    This DepSec decision interests me. It’s one of the key positions in the country’s national security/foreign policy portfolio — and the person who holds it, if skilled, could further the State Department’s agenda at the expense of VP Cheney.
    I should hear more this next week about who might fill this role and will share what I learn.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  4. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — You are over the line again. Pull it back in. Please get over the notion that I sit and read all of your many posts. I don’t. I don’t have time to.
    If you want to scream at me, do it through email. Your notes are poisoning the tone of this commentary.
    Clean up your act, or I will have no choice but to ban you from comments. I want you here — even when you try and take off my head, on occasion — but you are way over the top and are ruining this for everyone.
    My suggestion is that you back up, apologize for your tone to me and others, and get back into some decent public commentary and reaction, like you occasionally provide.
    I will not engage you in a direct back and forth over your concerns. I simply don’t have the time or interest.
    But you are dead wrong to insinuate that Reid’s people threatened me. If you want to go after Reid, get your own blog. I do what I want with my blog. You are not going to direct me one way or another.
    On Harman, she has strengths. I don’t like the AIPAC connection. My pal at TIME wrote the story.
    What more do you want?
    Seriously, back off or we have to end this.
    — Steve Clemons

    Reply

  5. Carroll says:

    Once again:..clean out the entire congress…they don’t work for you, they work for AIPAC and Israel. They are “foreign” agents..get it?..as in REPRESENTING a FOREIGN country and a minority of Israeli cultist who live in this country but are loyal to another country.
    “On July 18, the Senate unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution “condemning Hamas and Hezbollah and their state sponsors and supporting Israel’s exercise of its right to self-defense.” After House majority leader John Boehner removed language from the bill urging “all sides to protect innocent civilian life and infrastructure,” the House version passed by a landslide, 410 to 8.
    AIPAC not only lobbied for the resolution; it had written it. “They [Congress] were given a resolution by AIPAC,” said former Carter Administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who addressed the House Democratic Caucus on July 19. “They didn’t prepare one.”
    “The Bush Administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel,”…. says Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. ……”But the Congress, if anything, is urging the Administration on and criticizing them even at their most accommodating. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups, like AIPAC, that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics.”
    Ironically, during the 2004 campaign Dean called on the United States to be an “evenhanded” broker in the Middle East. That position enraged party leaders such as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who signed a letter attacking his remarks. “It was designed to send a message: No one ever does this again,” says M.J. Rosenberg of the center-left Israel Policy Forum. “And no one has. The only safe thing to say is: I support Israel.”
    Zbigniew Brzezinski..quote..
    “What the region needs now is an American leader brave enough to say: “Either I make policy on the Middle East or AIPAC makes policy on the Middle East.”
    Hello..dems and repubs…you will never see another one of my votes. I will not trade off my children’s country for lower taxes or free health care or any other bones you care to throw to the peons. Oh, I will vote, but I will be writting in a name. Death to Isrmerica. Bring back America.

    Reply

  6. Mocu says:

    “what faith can we have that you are not just another arm of the propaganda machine?”
    If the shoe fits …
    Although it may not be an official shoe, by this time there are enough designer knock-offs that the shoe pleases most American feet.

    Reply

  7. Nell says:

    Steve,
    As the person who recommended Bobby Scott for the Intel Chair:
    We have a difference in perspective that won’t be breached by anything I can tell you about Bobby Scott. To me, active intelligence, integrity, and independence from lobbies are prime qualifications for the most important jobs in the House of Representatives.
    You’ve met dozens, probably hundreds of House members. You know the norms wrt real ability to think, work hard, concern for results vs. blowhard pomposity, etc. Seek out a chance to meet Rep. Scott or see him in a hearing. He’s top tier.
    Competence can be gained quickly by someone who’s motivated and bright. You may disagree, but most of what passes for ‘competence’ in Congress is really just socialization. Being vetted as “sound” by the Washington players matters more than actual ability to exercise judgment.
    Jane Harman’s vote in support of the Iraq War resolution should disqualify her on the judgment front. Her “soundness” on Israel was directly relevant to her getting the Intel Committee position. It’s a nice bonus that she’d been special counsel to the Defense Dept.
    Anyone who sits on the House Intel Committee is primarily a politician, not a policy wonk. That definitely includes Jane Harman: she ran for _governor of California_. That’s just the way our system works. There’s nothing inherently more intellectually complex about intelligence issues as compared to other policy areas. Intel issues tend to be more _morally_ complex. That’s why I’d rather have someone who combines independence and integrity with brains to spare in the job.
    I’m very uncomfortable with either Hastings or Harman in the position of chair; they have both shown they can be run from outside.
    But as far as I’m concerned, just about anybody on our side of the aisle would be better than the ring of right-wing shills for defense and intel contractors that’s run the Intel and Defense committees for the last five years. Including Alcee Hastings. If Pelosi goes with Hastings, then I assume at least one staffer would be appointed to the committee with a brief to keep an eye on him.
    No one filled that role during Harman’s tenure as ranking member. Coziness with AIPAC is a feature, not a bug, for the current powers that be in the Democratic Party.

    Reply

  8. Pissed Off American says:

    “Gee Steve, it doesn’t seem to bother you that Reid is one of the top ten recipients of AIPAC money. Why does it bother you that Harman is owned by the Israelis as well???”
    Steve. Above, you see a legitimate question that was prompted by your own comments. More and more here I see you ignoring questions about your opinions, and sidestepping the act of defending your positions.
    I truly am curious why AIPAC’s alleged participation in Harman’s decisions bother you, yet you are seemingly not bothered by the fact that Reid is at the top of the list when it comes to dollar amounts recieved fromn AIPAC. Do you REALLY think Reid would be recieving this money if he was not making decisions that were favorable to those interests that AIPAC pursues? Do you REALLY think AIPAC hands out investments that they expect no return on?
    Steve, why have you never defended your own endorsement of Reid with concrete reasons for that endorsement? God knows, you have been asked repeatedly, and you once promised an answer that has never been given. Was it because the Reid camp reprimanded you, and perhaps threatened to close some doors?
    And if that silenced you about Reid, what else have you been silenced about??? If you cannot defend your own positions by answering serious queries about those positions, such as the query you see above, than what faith can we have that you are not just another arm of the propaganda machine? If you can be silenced, can you not also be enticed to implant falsehoods designed to advance the political agendas of certain politicos?
    I enjoy your blog, Steve. But your recent failure to recognize the failure of proffessionalism and the lack of ethical standards of some of your media buddies, coupled with your seeming unwillingness to defend your political endorsements with sound logic and concrete example, is calling your credibility into question.
    So, once again, I must ask you…..
    Gee Steve, it doesn’t seem to bother you that Reid is one of the top ten recipients of AIPAC money. Why does it bother you that Harman is owned by the Israelis as well???

    Reply

  9. RichF says:

    Steve,
    Just caught your post at 11:12 AM:
    To clarify, I agree the storyline around Hastings is unclear, in that both media accounts and the legal record make it difficult to get a definitive sense of why these events were taking place, and who was the real offender. I got the strong sense at the time that Hastings’ alleged offenses were not the real cause of the actions against him. That the charges were a substitute for some other motivation, whether they were trumped up, or he was suckered, or whether he did commit the offense–but was basically just an effective politician like any other.
    Consulting only mainstream media sources don’t really get at the full scope: Cross-referencing that narrative with news accounts in The Nation and other political news magazines really fleshes out the level of ambiguity.
    On top of that, his political resiliance and personal tenacity seem to be be matched by a fairly formidable intellectual acuity.
    YEt, if I remember, I wasn’t every quite impressed with seeing him speak on the TV–I kept looking for something I couldn’t find, whether it was the substance of what he was saying or his delivery, I don’t know.
    Looking for that reason, and . . .

    Reply

  10. reader says:

    There is only one thing that’ll restore the glory of this once great nation: no more Israeli operatives in any position of power.

    Reply

  11. RichF says:

    Oh, ALCEE Hastings is the alternative to Harman??
    Merely based on the way Hastings was dealt with in the past, it’s crystal clear his integrity was viewed as a threat by the status quo. It’s pretty clear Congress doesn’t feel it necessary to take out a judge or deal with one of their own that way–unless he won’t play ball.
    We need more integrity–the competence you can get from one of the IOWA undergraduates who so impressed you, Steve, on you coffee-swing through the Midwest.
    Competence is clearly in short supply. These are the same old folks who couldn’t make a difference for the past 6-8 years.
    Competence or intelligence alone is proven to be a false, wrong-headed measure of sound, pragmatic, effective foreign policy. Exhibit A: “We are the BEST and the BRIGHTEST!!
    We can WIN the WAR in VIETNAM!!” “Brilliance”–if that’s how the likes of Kissinger and anyone else tried (& failed) to define it–leads to failure. It’s simply not a technical problem–it’s a moral problem, that can only be solved by men of character, conviction, and integrity.
    Intelligence and Competence simply ISN’T ENOUGH. NOt sure how that hasn’t becom Axiom #1. ‘xplain, please?
    Integrity would mean adhering to our national values and political and legal principles in the conduct of our foreign policy. That’s what won us so much respect during WWII.
    In short, integrity IS competence. The ONLY relevant competence FLOWS DIRECTLY out of the integrity that’s firmly grounded in our Constitutional values.
    Many of the folks that have sat idly by, or been complicit in, Condi’s and Bush’s malfeasance just aren’t in a position to claim competence. Why? Condi Rice doesn’t have any integrity to impugn.

    Reply

  12. Steve Clemons says:

    I wrote the item about integrity plus knowledge about intelligence in reaction to one of your suggestions about Bobby Scott, who I don’t know. The implication was that Bobby Scott had integrity. I suggested that we also needed someone who knew more about intelligence.
    Regarding Hastings, the record on him is unclear. He was impeached while in office — and yes, another court reversed an opinion. But I’ve looked at Hastings work and website — looking for reasons why I’d feel better with him as Chairman of the Committee and I haven’t found any.
    Glad to see so many of you wrapped up in these questions.
    Later,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    “Wow, Steve. Hadn’t checked in for a while, but didn’t realize how “angry leftist” your commentators had gotten….”
    Posted by Judah
    Nahhhh, not “angry leftists”, just Americans that are tired of taking it in the rear from this lying thieving batch of criminals on Washington.
    What about YOU, have you spit on our flag yet this morning? Wiped your ass with the Constitution??? Tortured another human being? Started your morning out with a lie? Wasted a few billion tax dollars? Buried a serviceman??
    If not, get busy. After all, theres an election to win, you know.
    “Angry leftist” my ass. Anyone that isn’t pissed off by now needs a fuckin’ lobotomy.

    Reply

  14. Judah says:

    Wow, Steve. Hadn’t checked in for a while, but didn’t realize how “angry leftist” your commentators had gotten….

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    Just another one of my public service announcments.
    http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20060814&s=aipacs_hold
    …get Israel out of America.

    Reply

  16. p.lukasiak says:

    steve…. other than being guilty of legislating while Black, why shouldn’t Alcee Hastings become head of the intelligence committee?
    Yeah, I know that he was kangaroo-courted off the federal bench (while being acquitted of the same counts in Federal Court)….
    But given your acquiescence to Mr Salvadoran Torture himself (Negroponte) to run our National Intelligence Agencies, it seems a tad hypocritical for you to rule out Hastings at this point….

    Reply

  17. Pissed Off American says:

    “Looking in to the Jane Harman story more. I was not solicited to appeal on her behalf — but think she’s vastly more qualified than Hastings to run that Committee. But I’m seriously disturbed about the allegations of AIPAC involvement….really, it bothers me a lot.”
    HUH???
    Gee Steve, it doesn’t seem to bother you that Reid is one of the top ten recipients of AIPAC money. Why does it bother you that Harman is owned by the Israelis as well???
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1549069,00.html
    Exclusive: Feds Probe a Top Democrat’s Relationship with AIPAC
    The Department of Justice is investigating whether Rep. Jane Harman and the pro-Israel group worked together to get her reappointed as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee

    Reply

  18. Pissed Off American says:

    “Integrity doesn’t do it for me on its own; integrity plus competence when it comes to complex intel/natioanal security questions is what is needed.”
    Obviously integrity doesn’t wag your gibbles, Steve. If it did you wouldn’t endorse 98% of the people you do endorse. Heres the deal Steve, a person of integrity, if uninformed or ignorant of an issue, will seek expert advice on the given issue, and weigh the options before acting. Integrity is a far greater asset than intelligence, for that reason alone. I do not expect, nor do I want, people that are unable or unwilling to seek advice in a bipartisan manner when forming policy decisions, no matter HOW “smart” they may be about any given issue. There are a lot of “intelligent” CRIMINALS in this administration. If these bastards had as much integrity as they do brains, our nation would not be in this fucking mess we find ourselves today.

    Reply

  19. Eli Rabett says:

    How can you seriously think Zelikow could get through hearingw with all the hang over business from the 9/11 commission?

    Reply

  20. Linda says:

    Thanks for the above. Bill Maher segment is very funny. I am not a Khalilzad fan. He signed PNAC letters, but he was not at PNAC or Heritage Foundation before joining Bush Administration in 2001. He was at RAND.

    Reply

  21. Zarathustra says:

    Steven C. Clemons: “As an original PNAC member, Khalilzad is also appreciated by some neocons, though he is really much more of a pragmatist in his thinking and writing.”
    In re to PNAC, which Khalilzad is a *founding* member see ……
    Maher: And finally, new rule in two parts: (A) You can’t call yourself a think tank if all you’re ideas are stupid; and (B) If you’re someone from one of these think tanks that dreamed up the Iraq War and who predicted that we’d be greeted as liberators, and that we wouldn’t need a lot of troops, and that Iraqi oil would pay for the war, that the WMD’s would be found, that the looting wasn’t problematic, that the mission was accomplished, that the insurgency was in its last throes, that things would get better after the people voted, after the government was formed, after we got Saddam, after we got his kids, after we got Zarqawi, and that whole bloody mess wouldn’t turn into a civil war, you have to stop making predictions.
    http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Maher-NewRules-NeoCons.wmv

    Reply

  22. Zathras says:

    The Deputy Secretary of State can either be the administrator of the department or a high profile diplomat.
    If you want the former you can still make the latter out of another high official at State or an official from outside the Department. But if you want the latter you still have to find an administrator able to act for the Secretary in managing the Department.
    It does not look to me as if the administration has been able to decide this question, even though Zoellick has been gone for some time. Important posts have often been left vacant for long periods while the various players on Bush’s team measured their strength by their ability to block appointees they disliked. And Bush himself, dependent on consensus among his appointees and unable to make decisions about people not close to him personally, enables these recurrent stalemates.

    Reply

  23. Alex says:

    Re: Ned Lamont, the election will tell and not the polls (afterall Kerry was ahead in OH in 2004 wasn’t he), but at least Lieberman won’t be masquerading as a Democrat anymore.
    Lieberman’s misrepresented himself as a Democrat from day 1 back in the Clinton impeachment to Gore’s running mate. He’s a corporate whore who takes the money and does as he’s told. Incompetence doesn’t care if someone’s a Rep or a Dem. But he probably feels more at home on the Rep side. And of course, he’s not averse to AIPAC (aka USrael) money either.
    Lamont’s not perfect, but at least people know they’re voting for a Dem at the polls.

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    Now why would AIPAC want “their ” person on the INTELLIGENCE committee?
    Gee Steve, I can’t believe you said this ..
    “Integrity doesn’t do it for me on its own; integrity plus competence when it comes to complex intel/natioanal security questions is what is needed.”
    They are ALL incompetent..if you are talking about their ability to act in the interest of the US (citizens, that is)….because they owe their offices to AIPAC and other special interest…or think they do. So I will take integrity thank you very much…and will just muddle thru all the “complex” security questions that we aren’t suppose to be able to understand.
    Vote every one of them out. Israel is NOT part of the US and what is good for AIPAC and Israel should have NO part in US goverment. And the further AIPAC pushes the envelope the sooner it won’t take a think tank to explain the congressional Israeli cancer to the public.

    Reply

  25. Steve Clemons says:

    Nell — my friend wrote the Time piece. Looking in to the Jane Harman story more. I was not solicited to appeal on her behalf — but think she’s vastly more qualified than Hastings to run that Committee. But I’m seriously disturbed about the allegations of AIPAC involvement….really, it bothers me a lot.
    Tell me more about Bobby Scott and why he’d be a good intel person. Integrity doesn’t do it for me on its own; integrity plus competence when it comes to complex intel/natioanal security questions is what is needed.
    Teach me more about Scott or others.
    best,
    Steve

    Reply

  26. John says:

    Steven C. Clemons: “As an original PNAC member, Khalilzad is also appreciated by some neocons, though he is really much more of a pragmatist in his thinking and writing.”
    Pragmatist?
    Pardon my French, but there really is no better expression in American English to express my thoughts and feelings about your notion of Ambs Khalilzad as a pragmatist: Fuc_ That!!
    Ambs Khalilzad is as split-minded as the rest of the henny penny PNAC members who wrote Pres Clinton January 26, 1998 to express their desire for action against a threat that existed PURELY and EVIDENTLY in their minds.
    Do pragmatists write as follows (emph is mine):
    [W]e >may soon face a threatifalmost certainifGiven the magnitude of the threatIfIf< we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.
    The last thing the USA is another schizy member from the PNAC at the helm.
    Thanks to the PNAC’s paranoic and split minded thinking about Saddam Hussein being a threat to the USA, hundreds of thousands of beings have been maimed and killed and $400 billions of dollars have been spent.
    Note: In direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11 (i.e. thousands of murders and maimings + tens of billions of dollars in damage), hundreds of thousands of beings have been maimed and killed and $400 billions of dollars have been spent In Iraq.
    No more PNAC members!

    Reply

  27. John says:

    I agree with previous posts. Maybe we should fill the Secretary of State’s position first. This one seems to be missing in action.

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  28. Nell says:

    Steve, speaking of jobs and who should get them, have you seen the Time magazine article in which Jane Harman is accused of soliciting help from AIPAC to keep her job as the senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee (now looking likely to mean chair of the committee)? Talking Points Memo linked to the story yesterday.
    I ask only because you were also apparently solicited to help in this effort last September.
    Jane Harman is and always has been an AIPAC tool. Alcee Hastings’ conviction for obstructing justice for pay should disqualify him from this important position.
    I have a better solution, one that ought to mollify the Congressional Black Caucus, who have a right to be ticked off about Harman’s out-of-seniority appointment to begin with, and should also satisfy people who claim that they’re just thinking about this country’s security:
    Pelosi should name Bobby Scott ranking member/chair. He’s just about the smartest member of the House, a man of integrity and judgment.

    Reply

  29. Frank says:

    No shit Dick Tracey, er…..I mean Finest. Having AIPAC and republicans going full bore for you, well, the Lamont chorus will always be, however the election outcome, the leitmotif to Lieberman’s humuliating disfranchisement from the Ct democratic party. That kind of deserved “stage” exit by little Joe,you never live down.
    Know that the Ct. chorus leitmotif is now being heard and expressed all over this nation. What has been, has been, and the Ct democrats who considered Leiberman a shameful and supporting turncoat apologist for the worst president this country ever had, have had their glorious and expressive hour.

    Reply

  30. Finest says:

    There is a whispering on the wind from the Northeast, getting fainter as you strain to hear:
    Ned Lamont
    Ned Lamont
    Ned Lamont
    As the chorus of the left, in praise, from Dean and Teddy and Kos et al, gets louder:
    Nd Lmont
    Nd Lmont
    Nd Lmont
    As the clamor of predictions putting Harry and Nancy in the majority reaches a crescendo:
    Nd Lmon
    Nd Lmon
    Nd Lmon
    As the more they rejoice at their Sorosian victorys (Vote or Die, millions down the drain):
    N Lmo
    N Lmo
    N Lmo
    Can you hear it? Getting louder, from the people of Connecticut and Quinnipiac?
    No
    No
    No

    Reply

  31. eCAHNomics says:

    Who cares who’s who at State? It’s all just dust to throw in everyone’s eyes until the Iran bombing campaign begins. As W pere said in Woodward’s new book, Condi’s not up to the job is she? You think Rice & her minions can succeed where Colin Polic failed? LOL. The record on how W treats State is dispositive. Learn your lesson.

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  32. p.lukasiak says:

    two things….
    First is the question of the credibility of the Bush administration throughout the rest of the world — does it really much matter who Rice’s deputy is, when no one really trusts the judgement, intelligence, or intentions of the administration as a whole?
    Secondly, it seems to me that Rice’s deputy will be little more than a cypher — the very idea that a Secretary of State can’t just tell the President who she wants as her chief deputy and get the support of the entire administration for that choice is ridiculous in the extreme. Rice shouldn’t have to “expend political capital” to get her own choice — it should be a given that she chooses her own deputies. That it isn’t is just more evidence that Bushco doesn’t give a damn about diplomacy.
    I personally love Steve’s inside baseball stuff — expect in cases like these where there is an irrelevant power struggle. It reminds me of the old saying about academic politics — the disputes that occur in academia are so nasty because their consequences are so small.

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  33. Carroll says:

    Burns is better of the choices…but does it really make any difference?…the State Dept can only advise ..it has to carry out the instructions of Bush.
    Does Condi have any political power?..I haven’t seen any. She got jerked around like a rag doll by Olmert during the Lebanon attack.
    Face it..nothing in the ME is going to be settled until someone bitch slaps the midget nazis in Israel and puts them behind their real borders.
    I did notice that France said today their peacekeepers might shoot down the IAF planes if they keep violating Lebanon airspace. Actually I would love to see that happen, it’s time to up the ante, call some bluffs, make everyone choose sides, or make the US decide not to choose sides, and get this Isr/Pal show on the road…now while the US is weak is the time to force everyone’s hand in the Israeli game and end it cause the US won’t. I guarentee you the US won’t bomb France for shooting down an Israeli plane. Go on France, do it.

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  34. DonS says:

    If the administration needs Khalilzad so badly to negotiate with Iran (real big if), he could be given special portfolio at any time I would assume. “original member of PNAC”. Whoa. Now there’s a credential to get all misty about.

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  35. Alex says:

    And as far as Deputy Secretary of State, I recommend Stephen Colbert.
    At least we can laugh when we have to endure the next two years of screwups from this administration. 😉

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  36. Alex says:

    As an aside from this post, I just read your article, “How to Lose the Brain Race”.
    You should compare notes with Paul Craig Roberts, who writes his column over on the Counterpunch.org website.
    The labor numbers and continuing trends he includes in his articles suggest the US has already lost the race with its outsourcing and general business direction.

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  37. weldon berger says:

    I think Wilfred Brimley would be a good choice. He would work well in concert with incoming Senate majority leader Jimmy Stewart to firmly but gently bring humanity and rationality back into the foreign policy process. Wilfred, or “Wilf” as I call him when we’re alone, isn’t likely to pass muster with the White House, so my second choice is the female crash test dummy from the Ad Council’s “buckle your seat belt” campaigns. She’s a dedicated public servant and despite a highly visible public service career, she’s more or less a blank slate who might slip by because all parties would believe her manipulable to their own interests. She does carry some baggage, though, by way of all those concussions.

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  38. Pissed Off American says:

    Amazing to see people talking about Rice as if she is anything other than a criminal. Note the Foley Hard-On Revue is still on Center Stage, yet the Queen Bitch’s meeting with Tenet, where she was specifically warned of an impending attack, has been lost in the media shuffle. Note too she has lied her ass off ever since, claiming to have never recieved warnings. Yet here we are, talking about the treasonous bitch as if if she actually has some credibility, and is capable of actually serving this nation in her selection of cabinet members.
    But hey, fear not. After all we all have seen the Bush Administration’s history of selecting individuals for key positions. Brownie and that foam at the mouth asshole Bolton come immediately to mind.

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  39. Pissed Off American says:

    In reference to Iraq, Philip Zelikow said during a war-on-terror forum at the University of Virginia Law School on Sept. 10, 2002: “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?” he asked a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002″, Philip Zelikow explains, “I’ll tell you what the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 — it’s the threat against Israel. And this is the threat that dares not speak its name because…the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically because it’s not a popular sell.” – Philip Zelikow

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  40. Steve Clemons says:

    Punchy — I really don’t know about the recess appointment decision yet, but my contact whom I can’t say much about because it would be too easy for others to figure out who he is — intimated that it was unlikely Bolton would be there in any capacity after his term ends.
    But remember these are nuances dancing around nuances. . .not definitive.
    Steve

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  41. Punchy says:

    Does “Bolton Battle finished” means he’s a shoe-in for another recess appointment, or completely through as U.S. Ambass? I just refuse to believe the Bush Admin will eat one of their own. Especially one that is as neocon-ish as Cheney and his ilk.

    Reply

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