Richard Armitage Speaking Tomorrow, April 6th


For those of you on line and over at the Office of Naval Reseach, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is giving a talk tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. titled “The World in 2020.”
I have someone who will be there to report back on any interesting material that gets discussed. I’ve written about Armitage many times in the past. I think I was the primary lead critic of his much-discussed “Armitage Report” on the US-Japan alliance written before the 2000 election.
His views on Japan and Asia Security policy differ from my own, but I very much respect the things he’s done for this country, particularly things like prevening an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange for which he is not given enough credit. I wrote once that of those people who left the Bush administration and who are charging high speaking fees, Armitage may be the one on the list who most deserves his $25k.
Chris Nelson of the Nelson Report had the following interesting thoughts on Armitage as a possible successor to Donald Rumsfeld, and word is that Armitage believes that he would have a shot at that top defense spot. Sounds unlikely to me, but Armitage feels he has been exceedingly loyal to G.W. Bush, if not to other members of the Bush team.
From the Nelson Report, 30 March 2006, discussing the move of OMB Director Joshua Bolten to White House Chief of Staff:

So the question may boil down to Bolten’s authority, and capacity. Observers say that the Bolten of today is just as smart as he ever was, with an additional layer of toughness. “Now he has learned that sometimes you must fire people, even your friends, if you want to succeed”.
So does he have the authority to fire Rumsfeld? Inside betting is “yes”…so stay tuned.
If Rummy goes, who’s next? Sources say don’t be surprised if Bush goes to Capitol Hill. Some Republicans think Senate Armed Services chair John Warner might look logical, given the confidence issues within both the military and the media. And come January next year, Warned is term-limited out as chairman, so will be “available”. But if Warner is deemed too old, some sources say don’t forget that former Senator and Indiana governor Dan Coats was on the short list back in 2000-2001 transition.
Hummm. . .we recall reporting at that time that Coats had DOD sewed up, pending his personal interview down at the ranch in Crawford, but that Coats’ performance was SO dismal the George Bush of that time. . .raw, inexperienced, and naïve on both defense and foreign policy. . .rejected Coats out of hand.
What about former Deputy Secretary of State Rich Armitage, we hear you ask? Certainly Armitage has been known to express serious interest. . .and perhaps even serious hopes he could be on the list. . .due to his strong personal relationship with Bush, despite his loyalty to Colin Powell.
There could hardly be a stronger choice to prove that Rumsfeld has been “fired” than Armitage, but you have to figure out how to parse Armitage’s recent interviews in Australia, for example, or with The Oriental Economist, in which he had some frank and not entirely comradely things to say about the current Bush team, Secretary Condi Rice included.

I don’t have any evidence that Rumsfeld is on his way out — though I think that it would be great for the nation — and also for a legacy-focused Bush administration — to get rid of him now. It should have happened long ago.
Armitage would be a long shot for the SecDef job, but as Nelson said, nothing would say “you’re fired” more to the world about Rumsfeld than picking Richard Armitage to run the Pentagon.
— Steve Clemons
UPDATE: Please note that Richard Armitage is speaking tomorrow morning, April 6. Doubly confirmed information had come my way that he was speaking today — in part from the ONR media relations people, who were great but just made small mistake. More later, Steve Clemons


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  12. steambomb says:

    Uncle Fester as SecDef? Hell, might as well stick with Rummy. Remember Fester sat idly by while his boss lied to the United Nations on behalf of Bushco.


  13. Jeff says:

    So did anybody get to ask Armitage about his role in the CIA leak business?


  14. Ian Kaplan says:

    I first knew of Armitage through his connection to
    South American death squads. But past asside…
    Am I the only one who thinks that Armitage looks
    like some kind of demented Uncle Fester from
    The Adams Family?


  15. Nathan says:

    I have a lot of respect for Richard Armitage but could Steve have run a picture that made him look any more like an extra on the set of a George Romero flesh-eating zombie movie?


  16. susan says:

    “Armitage will just have to chew his tongue in regards to being “exceedingly loyal” and coming up empty.”
    I wonder if Armitage had something to do with outing Valerie Plame.


  17. vaughan says:

    OT, but I was interested if Steve has comments on the Regan article in the CSM, as described in this dairy post at Kos: The public’s surprising view of U.S. foreign policy
    I especially like that Americans of all politcal persuasions are much more interested in helping with disaster relief and working on environmental issues than persuing these so-called exercises in building democracy.


  18. jonst says:

    Somebody is pulling my leg. Bolton? Has the power to fire Rummy. Somebody is a naive dreamer. At best.
    As to Richard Armitage, I would prefer he speak about the World in 2002. And 2003. And 2004. Let him speak about what he knows and has been leaking all over the place. Only this time let him do it in public. His country needs him more than this Admin does.


  19. Thugmeister Encryption says:

    Intelligence sources can now reveal that Rumsfeld is indeed resigning Defense. Intelligence sources can also now reveal that Rummy’s job will go to none other than…Tom Delay. This intelligence is as sound as the intelligence that was used to pre-jump start the preemptive war on Iraq. Washington does refer to Delay as “the hammer” doesn’t it?


  20. Jeff says:

    No way Armitage will replace Rumsfield. Armitage has been loyal to Bush, and is a rock solid Republican and all, but there’s no way Rice will allow it, among other things. This is one of those classic Bush administration red herrings; they often do it with important nominations and appointments. I wonder whether there might also be an element of leading Armitage to believe he’s in serious consideration as a way of making sure he stays friendly to them on the Plame business. On that note, I hope someone got a chance to ask Armitage about blowing Plame’s cover to Woodward and Novak, what that was about, and his recent interlocutions with Patrick Fitzgerald.


  21. Paul says:

    All, an update/clarification…
    the talk is Thursday 6 April, from 10-11am.


  22. P says:

    The dismissal of Rumsfeld will simply never happen, for several reasons. As stated above, GB would be admitting failure, something he is incapable of doing. Secondly, Rumsfeld exists as the ultimate fall guy if/when this Iraq and soon-to-be Iran disaster fully play out–nobody wants him canned b/c they all need him to take the blame. This is The Tenet Maneuver. Thirdly, a firing of an official as high as Rumsfeld could–doubtful, but possible–lead to him coming clean, and putting the GB Team on the defensive.
    Shorter version: GB is unable to admit a mistake and/or show any remorse and/or contrition. Therefore Rumsfeld stays. Even post-Iran. No, that’s not a typo.


  23. koreyel says:

    “I don’t have any evidence that Rumsfeld is on his way out…”
    I was actually glad to read that.
    If you had evidence, I’d have had to rework my entire schemata regarding Bush’s adolescent psychodynamics.
    You see to let Rummy go, B would in effect be admitting Iraq is an intractable mess.
    And as everyone knows,– 12 year olds are never wrong and know everything.
    In other words:
    I think it is a little too late for B to grow up.
    Rummy stays and continues to stink up the world.
    Armitage will just have to chew his tongue in regards to being “exceedingly loyal” and coming up empty.
    Perhaps he needs to exceed “exceedingly.”
    Suggestion: the next time he is in the same room with “The Royal Adolescent” he ought to prostrate himself and babble sweet praises for “Our most wise and true and noble excellency.”
    [Note: Sunday’s Doonesbury was spot on.]


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