November 20, 2006

This makes me feel much better...

Fred Barnes, in the Weekly Standard

RARELY HAS THE PRESS gotten a story so wrong. Robert Gates, President Bush's choice to replace Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, is not the point man for a boarding party of former national security officials from the elder President Bush's administration taking over defense and foreign policy in his son's administration. The media buzz about the realists of Bush 41, so cautious and practical, supplanting the idealists of Bush 43, whose grandiose, neoconservative thinking got us stuck in Iraq, is wrong.

President Bush--the current one--decided to hire Gates two days before the November 7 election. He didn't consult his father. He didn't talk to James Baker, his father's secretary of state and now co-head of the Iraq Study Group, whose official advice on Iraq is expected in December. Nor did he tell Rumsfeld that he was lining up someone to take his job.

Before hiring him, Bush had to make sure Gates didn't think America's intervention in Iraq was a mistake and wasn't deeply skeptical of Bush's decision to make democracy promotion a fundamental theme of American foreign policy. With Gates, it came down to this: "The fundamental question was, was he Brent Scowcroft or not?" a Bush aide says....

...Gates had at least one supporter inside Bush's circle, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She, too, had worked for Scowcroft in the senior Bush's administration. She told the president that whenever she had sought to wean Scowcroft from a narrow realist position--such as his dismissal of Russian democratic leader Boris Yeltsin as a rube and his unyielding support for Mikhail Gorbachev--she turned to Gates for help....

Too cool. The press got it wrong (if Barnes is right) and the dextrosphere too. I can't count the number of opinions I've read about how it's all over but for the helicopters landing on the embassy roof. And how the author knew all along that Bush wasn't a conservative, and would sell us all out and cut deals with new pal Nancy.

And the part about Secretary of State Rice is interesting too. How little those on the outside know of what's really going on! How eager I am to read the memoirs that will be coming out over the next decade or two...

Posted by John Weidner at November 20, 2006 5:50 PM
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