Monday, July 21, 2003

Article: Who Gave You Another 15 Minutes?

I'm sure you Foreign Policy Mag subscribers have already seen this article by Newt Gingrich blaming the State Department for making people hate the US. Apparently they haven't been cruel and arrogant enough for his tastes. Now that I've stopped laughing and wiped the tears from my eyes enough to actually read the article, I really have to say that it's one of the most pathetic pieces of literature I've ever read. I'm a bit disappointed that FP would this run as cover story. It's clearly intended (as have been all of Gingrich's recent statements) to be in the Rush Limbaugh/Bill O'Reilly vein of inflamatory, far-right pedagoguery. FP Mag usually tries to keep things on a more academic level... Apparently they're not immune from senationalism. That aside, I find these Gingrich statements to be most interesting in regards to the insight they give to the conservative machine. I recall that when he came out and blasted the State Dept a month or two ago it was widely rumored that he was doing so with the blessing or even at the request of many of the neo-cons in the administration.

I think it will be very interesting to hear, years from now, if ever, the inside story of what went on in this administration. There clearly have to be some different factions there, but I can never figure out exactly how they interact and who's really driving. I strongly suspect that the Powell State Department was one of the Rove's more clever moves. It's clear they never meant to let him have any real power in things. Right from the start, just a few months into the term, they very publicly humiliated him on the CO2 issue, and never let up from there. His presence has been useful from a political perspective, to take heat from the rest of the administration and have a moderate multilateral face that they can use when it suits their purposes. He has clashed frequently with the neo-cons, but they always win. It seems strange to me that they would use Gingrich to attack him so strongly and to lobby for a neo-con housecleaning of the State Department. Powell is a useful tool for their cause. I think Rove sees this, and apparently he has convinced the President as well. Given the dedication of the administration to presenting a unified front, is surprises me that they haven't been able to get the neo-con club on board with this. There has to be some sort of internal conflict in progress, but it's hard to figure exactly who the sides are or what they hope to accomplish.

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