April 26, 2002


Policy Divide Thwarts Powell in Mideast Effort : Defense Dept.'s Influence Frustrates State Dept. (Alan Sipress, April 26, 2002, Washington Post)
State Department officials say Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has been repeatedly undercut by other senior policymakers in his effort to break the Middle East deadlock, warning this has left U.S. diplomacy paralyzed at an especially volatile moment.

These officials say that Powell's return from the Middle East a week ago with few concrete results has left them more discouraged than at any time since the Bush administration took office.

They partly fault what they said was the administration's unwillingness to stand behind Powell, especially in pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw his forces from West Bank cities and hold accelerated talks with the Palestinians. Department officials said they continue to face objections as they seek to fashion a diplomatic initiative aimed at creating a Palestinian state.

Any sensible observer of the Powell Peace Mission, though there weren't many in the punditocracy, knew how the post trip stories would play out. Today's apparently the day.

Despite the caterwauling of neocon hawks and the hopeful hossannas of the doves, the trip was always going to end in disaster; that's why Bush let him go. So now you have this story where everyone but the janitor at the State Department leaks to the Post about how the only thing preventing peace from flowering is other evil bureaucrats in different agencies. Oh yeah, if it weren't for Paul Wolfowitz, I bet Arafat and Sharon would be playing shuffleboard together.

Then on NPR's All Things Considered tonight you get David Brooks saying that Bush's spine has stiffened and the wobbling has stopped. Thank God for those stern warnings from Bill Kristol--the Republic has been saved!

These folks--claiming credit or parceling blame for stuff that's inevitable-- remind us of the rooster who thinks his crowing brings the dawn.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2002 5:33 PM
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