Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Baker's failure

Sidney Blumenthal has an interesting article about the behind the scenes attempt by James Baker to change Feckless Leader's Iraq policy. He attempted to use Condi's supposed influence over FL to do that, and needless to say, the effort failed. Oddly, the article is titled 'Washington's political cleansing', though it describes a failed cleansing, and the continued domination of policy by the Vice President and his crew.

Baker's use of Condi seems desperate to me, she was, is, and always will be a lightweight in every sense of the word. This passage is emblematic:

Rice's turn appeared to be reflected in a speech delivered at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on 15 September by Philip Zelikow, her counsellor, closest aide and friend, who had served with her under Scowcroft on the elder Bush's National Security Council. Well publicised in advance, he asserted that "some sense of progress and momentum on the Arab-Israeli dispute is just a sine qua non for their ability to cooperate actively with the United States on a lot of things that we care about."

Immediately, Zelikow came under fierce criticism from vice-president Cheney's office and Rice publicly rebuked him, which provoked his abrupt resignation. In a 27 November letter to her, he wrote that he had "some truly riveting obligations to college bursars" for his children's tuition and instantly had to return to his professorship at the University of Virginia.

If Condi would throw Zelikow under the train, she was not going to stand up to Cheney for Baker. Despite its hopelessness, I guess there was no one else who could penetrate the cordon set up around Bush.


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