United States: Bush and His Appointees

From France, Christopher Jones writes:The new Bush appointments are ominous, and I hope that the EU will veto the Wolfowitz appointment in particular.  Devilishly, the Bush-Cheney clique wants to place loyal stooges inside international financial institutions to gain mafia style leverage over more poor and unsuspecting small states.  As for Condoleezza Rice's statement, the best way to counter the"hateful Islamic propaganda" and win over those one billion (actually 1,45 billion) Moslems would be to promote a lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the total withdrawal of Israeli forces from the entire West Bank and East Jersusalem and the payment of financial compensation to the Palestinians displaced in 1948 and the families of victims of Israeli war crimes such as Shattlia and Sabra (there are others).  As for the US, it could establish a commission to investigate its own collusion with Saddam Hussein and its own murky role in his war on Iran.  If it really wants to strengthen the moderates in Tehran, it should restore to Iran the assets it froze in 1979-80 and apologize to the Iranian people for its support of the Shah and its role in the overthrow of the National Front government.

Jon Kofas says: By nominating John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the UN, Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank,  and Keren Hughes to head the PR division in the State Department, Bush and Cheney are sending a message to the world and to posterity that their foreign policy during the first term was on the right track and must be vindicated and legitimized with individuals who are vehement unilateralists. All three are more symbolic appointments, and all three will receive a speedy education about the value of multilateralism in their respective positions, assuming that Bolton is confirmed and that the EU does not stop the Wolfowitz nomination. When Robert McNamara went from secretary of Defense to World Bank president, he actually became a great leader of that institution, implementing an environmental policy and dedicating more resources to understanding the significance of funding projects designed to engender greater self-sufficiency in the Third World.

Within the World Bank, there is great respect for McNamara, and perhaps Wolfowitz too can receive a constructive education and make some worthy initiatives, though he is by no means McNamara. Bolton's and Hughes' positions are far more challenging, as they will discover that the world does not revolve around the ideological realm of neo-cons. In fairness to her, Hughes cannot possibly convince one billion Muslims about the wisdom of becoming pro-U.S., unless there are policies that are indeed more friendly and balanced toward the Muslim world. Instead of the symbolic nominations designed to vindicate the foreign policy of his first term, Bush has lost the opportunity to appoint fresh blood and make history by correcting the mistakes of the past four years.

Randy Black writes: I was not aware that one billion Muslims think as one, per Jon Kofas’ statement."In fairness to her, Karen Hughes cannot possibly convince one billion Muslims about the wisdom of becoming pro-U.S., unless there are policies that are indeed more friendly and balanced toward the Muslim world". While Mr. Kofas quickly denounces the appointments, I am hopeful that Hughes, who will hold the rank of ambassador, will attain the goals of her boss, Condi Rice, who said, The United States must do much more to counter the “hateful propaganda” that is so common in the Islamic world. At least in the United States, we have the ability to read about the opinions of those in the Arab and Muslim world in our media. Throughout the middle East, Egypt included, those souls read only the news approved in advance by their governments. The Christian Science Monitor offers a view opposite to that of Mr. Kofas: …analysts say, don't count out Hughes before she begins, particularly as recent elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories have given Bush's vision for Middle Eastern democracy a boost.
"It's possible that Karen Hughes can succeed where the others failed," says David Rothkopf, a veteran of Clinton administration foreign policy.
I am happy to see Mr. Kofas recognize the leadership of Robert McNamara, the key architect of the US war in southeast Asia, aka, the Viet Nam Conflict.
Sources: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0316/p03s01-usfp.html

RH: Here is an extract from a eulogy of Karen Hughes: 
Hughes' new book, Ten Minutes from Normal traces her extraordinary experiences of working closely with President George W. Bush in the White House. As Counselor to The President for his first eighteen months in the White House and as his communications director since he first ran for Governor of Texas in 1994, Mrs. Hughes has been a crucial influence in President Bush's inner circle. When he first moved to Washington, President Bush told members of the White House staff that he wanted Karen Hughes in the room whenever any major decisions were made. During her tenure in the Bush White House, Mrs. Hughes advised the president on a wide range of issues, crafted the communications and message strategy for the administration and was responsible for overseeing the Offices of Press Secretary, Media Affairs, Speechwriting and Communications. She helped develop and lead the international communications effort during the early months of the war against terror and was instrumental in creating the new White House Office of Global Communications. Although she left the White House in the summer of 2002 to move her family home to Texas, Mrs. Hughes continues to advise President Bush on communications strategy.

Mrs. Hughes served as Director of Communications for both of President’s Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns in 1994 and 1998 and was one of the “Iron Triangle” of Texans who led his successful campaign for president. She also served as Director of Communications in Governor’s Bush’s state office throughout his tenure as Governor.

Mrs. Hughes is a former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas and a former television news reporter for KXAS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth. Mrs. Hughes is a Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of Southern Methodist University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Journalism. She is an elder and long time Sunday school teacher in the Presbyterian church. She is married with a grown stepdaughter and a teenage son, and tried to bring a “Mom’s perspective” to our nation’s public policy debate. In her speeches, Karen Hughes shares her experiences as one of President Bush's closest advisors. She is uniquely qualified to comment on the following topics:

RH:  She appears to be an admirable person with no special knowledge of international affairs and none of the Arab world.  Whatever her qualities. she will appear to Arabs as just another member of the Bush administration.
 Miles Seeley writes: The following is just a guess on my part, but here goes: It's possible that President Bush is distancing himself from the neocons he embraced during his first term. Rumor has it that Condi Rice did not want Bolton to undercut her diplomatic efforts the way he had undercut Colin Powell. So off he goes to the UN, removed from the everyday work in State. Wolfowicz is sent to the World Bank from his high post as chief strategic planner at the Pentagon. Perhaps Rice and others saw that VP Cheney and his cohorts had made some miscalculations, and have persuaded Bush that diplomacy and alliances are vital to our interests. This may be wishful thinking, but I also note that Rumsfeld has been uncommonly quiet.

RH: IUt is an old Latin American custom for national leaders to get rid of rivals by appointing them to diplomatic posts. As for Rumsfeld being quiet, he addressed a group`today but made no impression on me. Karen Hughes is no neocon, so Miles may be right.

Jon Kofas writes: Miles Seeley is very perceptive, and he probably has the correct analysis of the Wolfowitz and Bolton appointments, especially in the light of Rice's statement yesterday that the U.S. now supports Japan's bid to join the UN Security Council. And Miles is also correct to note that Rumsfeld has been unusually quiet, probably knowing that Wolfowitz wanted to be defense secretary after 30 years of public service, but could not because Rumsfeld does not want to step down and leave a legacy of questionable success in Iraq. The only thing that puzzles me, however, is the speculation yesterday by some "inside the beltway" analysts, who noted that Bolton may actually obstruct Japan's bid to Security Council, and that Cheney will be behind him all the way. Bolton may indeed prevail by claiming that India, Brazil, Germany, and perhaps others too may want to join the Security Council, which he sees as the exclusive domain of the U.S. In any case, Miles is correct that there is in-fighting between the more pragmatic elements and the hard-line neo-cons in the Bush administration and in the Republican Party, with Senator Lugar very astutely leading the latter group. RH: I am surprised by the statement that Lugar leads the hard-line neo.cons in the Senate.

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 12, 2005