April 11, 2002


Powell to hear Egypt's frustration (BBC, 9 April, 2002)
Powell's itinerary

The other Brother called last night with a couple of good points, but insists that I'm our official spokesman, so in this post I get to play Charlie McCarthy to his Edgar Bergen.

Colin Powell is being deluged with complaints at the early stops on his trip because of the leisurely pace with which he's wending his way towards Israel. Stephen points out two significant things that many people seem to be overlooking in all this :

(1) The pace is the point.

If the United States really wanted the Israelis to withdraw immediately, Powell would have gone there immediately. The fact that he's taking his good sweet time is the best indicator yet that regardless of how people heard President Bush's most recent pronouncement on the conflict, it had no bearing on our level of support for Israel. The message to Sharon is to hasten slowly. He gets it.

(2) No one races to the electric chair.

Powell is on a mission that is going to fail and the point of which is that it will fail. The hawks sent him in order to embarrass the doves. Powell is too smart a bureaucrat not to recognize this, so he's trying to delay the inevitable as long as possible. The surprise is not that it is going to take him so long to get to Israel but that he didn't go by hot air balloon. Eighty days to get there would have suited him just fine.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2002 6:55 AM
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