« Eric | Main | I see brown people »

Alexander Haig is in charge here?

Imagine that Bill Clinton had appointed an extremely conservative Democrat to be Secretary of State, someone who didn't share many of Clinton's views. (Hey, use your imagination; I know Clinton "triangulated" so much that it was hard to find someone whose views he didn't claim to share.) Someone, say, who didn't believe in multilateralism, someone who felt the U.S. should act quickly and decisively, with force if necessary, whenever the country's interests were threatened, regardless of how others around the world felt. Further, imagine that this individual's disagreements with Clinton were made widely known in the media by his supporters. Sometimes he would go to a press conference and make a statement which directly contradicted Clinton's position on an issue.

Here's a quick quiz for you: How do you think the editorial board of the New York Times would feel about this hypothetical person? Would they celebrate his principled stands? Would they urge him to "throw a tantrum or two" in order to get his way? Would they argue that his job as Secretary of State was to conduct his own foreign policy, regardless of the wishes of the president?

I can't be certain, but I doubt it. I suspect they would be calling for this individual's resignation, at a minimum for failing to be a team player, and at worst for undermining the president. And yet, maybe I'm wrong. Because they see nothing wrong with suggesting that Colin Powell should be disloyal to the president of the United States:

If Mr. Powell were on a winning streak, his conciliatory style might look more appealing. The measure of success for secretaries of state is not whether they loyally follow the lead of the president, but whether they guide foreign policy in directions that advance American interests abroad. Mr. Powell has the convictions and seasoning to be a great secretary of state, but he will not achieve that stature if he fails to stand his ground.
Got that? According to the Times, Powell's job isn't to serve the president, but to run the country's foreign policy on his own. And note the part about Powell's "conciliatory style". As if the president and the secretary of state were equals, and Powell was acting magnanimously by agreeing to do things Bush's way.

I know the editors of the Times are upset that George Bush is president, and think that they could do a better job running the country. But at some point they need to get over it, and realize that they'll have to wait until 2004 if they want our foreign policy to resemble Belgium's.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 29, 2002 3:34 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Eric.

The next post in this blog is I see brown people.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.31