DANIELLE PLETKA, AEI FOREIGN & DEFENSE POLICY PROGRAMS CHIEF, will be appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. This just hit in from a little birdie — not on the wires yet.
That must have given Colin Powell and Dick Armitage some heartburn since Pletka has been part of the attack-Powell neocon squad for some time.
The realist crowd, what little of it existed in the administration, is thinning. Colin Powell and Richard Armitage have declared themselves out. Robert Blackwill resigned. Richard Haass left some time ago to head the Council on Foreign Relations.
CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin quit, as has the CIA’s Osama bin Laden tracking chief Michael Scheuer, a.k.a. ANONYMOUS.
Former NSC staffers Richard Clarke and Rand Beers quit.
Have any neoconservatives quit? Don’t mention John Ashcroft to me; he’s not smart enough to be a neoconservative.
Even the neocon that George Bush thought he fired but survived — Douglas Feith — still has his job.
Now Danielle Pletka will help rein in a piece of the bureaucracy at State.
By my count, the realist-like crowd is down 8 people; and the neocons already up 1.
To all those who keep asking me whether the neoconservatives are going to be constrained in Bush’s next term, what does the math tell you?
— Steve Clemons