Zoellick Departure May Trigger Next Condi-Cheney Skirmish

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zoellick.jpg
Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick didn’t want to “manage” the State Department in the same manner that his predecessor Richard Armitage did. Zoellick wanted to carve out portfolios that he would manage, and left the meat-and-potato operations of the department to others.
Now Zoellick is planning to leave the government after hearing through the grapevine that he did not make the short list to succeed Treasury Secretary John Snow.
The question now is who will come in after Zoellick. Sources have told TWN that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prefers to appoint Nick Burns as her DepSec.
But Cheney may use his influence to block Burns, whom many consider to be too much of a “diplomatic type”. During the recent UN Security Council skirmishes with Russia and China over how to deal with Iran, John Bolton and various other Cheney acolytes began a whisper campaign against Nick Burns.
Burns has cut many deals lately — including the Security Council resolution on Iran with Europe and the recent nuclear negotiations with India — but he’s no darling of the left. He’s considered to be serious but is a believer in Rice’s “transformational diplomacy” doctrine.
But Cheney had wanted John Bolton in the DepSec job rather than Zoellick — and in this next round, Cheney will not want Burns to help further strengthen Rice’s hand in foreign and national security policy.
It will be interesting to watch the sides square off, and whomever does succeed Zoellick will give some indication of the relative strengths of Rice and Cheney in the administration.
— Steve Clemons

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  9. paul a'barge says:

    “remember when America had coherent and skilled statecraft and foreign policy”?
    No, quite frankly, I don’t. The history of American diplomacy has always been ripe with controversy.
    It would appear that someone just woke up from a drug-induced dream and started typing.

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  10. jonst says:

    Zathras,
    Define “safe”. And “safe” for who?

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  11. Zathras says:

    I have to say there is a massive incongruity here between the quality of Clemons’ original post and the dopiness of the commenters, most of whom seem to be straining to come up with slightly different ways of saying exactly the same thing.
    In case anyone is paying attention, recent major personnel changes in the Bush administration have borne the stamp of Josh Bolten, the new chief of staff. It’s likely that if Zoellick leaves, this one will too. Also, Bush’s approval numbers are too low now for him to get into a divisive confirmation battle, and leaving the Deputy Secretary’s post vacant while an intra-administration battle is resolved would raise too many questions. It looks to me that a safe choice is what the administration will need to make if Zoellick cannot be persuaded to stay. That’s probably Burns, though conceivably it could be someone from outside the Department.

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  12. Robert Morrow says:

    I’m for Cheney on this one. What we don’t need are any State Department types in the State Department!
    Hey, the Bilderbergers are meeting in Ottawa, Canada at the Brook Street Hotel, June 8-11th.
    http://www.bilderberg.org/2006.htm

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  13. Den Valdron says:

    Meaningless. It’s like discussing internal politics in Stalinist Russia. There were no internal politics, simply Stalin and his whims.

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  14. jonst says:

    Condi? “There is no ‘there’ there”. Given the historical record with regard to women and blacks in politics, and life, is it certainly understandable, and laudable, that the press often gave a her a free pass. But things are bad now and such sentimentality cannot be afford. The woman is a frigging lapdog. A fool. She could sit naked on a block of ice…all she would have to do is think ‘hot’. If there was any justice in the world her ass would be hauled over to Iraq where she should given a task worthy of her skills. Say, organizing the presentations of new-speak seminars for visiting idiot members of Congress. She’s good at that. PPT presentations and all that conference bullshit. Let her sweat over there and ruminate on what she has been a small part of brining about.

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  15. Craig says:

    I’m so used to Condi Rice echoing whatever Bush wants, even when she occasionally wanders off on her own, that I’m not clear what her position would be if Bush simply asked her what she thought he ought to do about Iran. Obviously, if Bush decides to attack Iran, Condi Rice will give him all the help he wants, but what would her position likely be if he asked her or she felt she had a reasonable chance of influencing the policy? Would she favor a conservative realist position of containment or would she yield to Cheney’s paranoid Hobbesian confrontationalism?
    That might be the million dollar question. Particularly if a potential battle between Rice and Cheney becomes something of a vague litmus test of where the Bush Administration is going (such tests can only be tentative given the erratic nature of the current presidency).
    I would sure like to hear some thoughts.

    Reply

  16. p.lukasiak says:

    Bolton?
    you can’t be serious. Perhaps a Bolton acolyte, but despite Rice’s general lack of character, I think she’d put her Ferragamo down and threaten to resign before she let Bolton have that job.

    Reply

  17. Punchy says:

    I don’t know if it’s the glasses, the moustache, or the incredibly bad hair, but this guy looks straight out of a Harry Potter movie…

    Reply

  18. Ben says:

    Gee,
    I am tempted to cheer for Burns to get the nod, (as a fellow SAIS alumnus) but maybe it’s better for him and SAIS (and the U.S.) for Wolfowitz to be the only SAISer who can be painted as partly responsible for our misguided foreign policies. Maybe we can hope that Burns doesn’t get the job, is then held in even higher esteem (as it is a badge of honor to on the Cheney/ Bolton Enemies List), and in future can come back to help right our foreign policy ship. Anyone else agree?

    Reply

  19. Avuncular Pavlovian says:

    Preemptive war in the Bush administration? Seems mildly amusing. Golly, remember when America had coherent and skilled statecraft and foreign policy? Remember when America was a global leader? Remember when America was the deft and diplomatic champion of democracy? That would be real democracy and not that illusive monstrosity concocted by the Bushistas.

    Reply

  20. JakeBCool says:

    A propos of almost nothing, Zoellick reminds me greatly of a villain from a Jet Li movie set during the Boxer Rebellion. Maybe it’s the glasses and mustache together . . . .

    Reply

  21. jimbo says:

    Cheney’s influence on policy has generally been
    disasterous. It’s a wonder he still has keys to
    his office, let alone any say over major appointments at State.

    Reply

  22. Ben says:

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, Paulson believes that withdrawing from Kyoto harms US interests; I apologise for my lack of knowledge, but does he require confirmation? Who is on the committee that will hold this hearing?
    Most importantly, will a forced withdrawal of his nomination get the USD past the 2:1 mark against the British Pound? I have a holiday coming up, and fancy some cheap consumer goods…

    Reply

  23. koreyel says:

    Cheney to the rescue just in time…
    Can’t have any “dimplomatic types” in the State Department.
    Wanted:
    One pouty male Christian Republican desk pounder who neither believes in negotiation nor global warming. College degree preferred. Language skills: Be able to speak English as well as the current POTUS.

    Reply

  24. James Mott says:

    After the harmless job John Bolton did at the UN and seeing that his recess appointment will be expiring, perhaps Bolton will get the nod, and Condi will be left to decide her own fate. In these the Final Years of this administration, much has been left undone; much big talk has not been followed through. If anything, Bush has left to him, at the least, leaving a legacy of being a President who attempted to finish what he started in the world and doing what he said he would do. Bolton in a key position at State could be what is needed in a final push for glorious freedom on the march in what amounts to the last days, figuratively, to this steadfast and resolute administration trying to make more irreversible its mark on history.

    Reply

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