The Bush Nominations
We need to see Paul Wolfowitz’s nomination in light of other recent developments in international-relations bureaucracies. Remember that the Bush administration also recently tapped John Bolton for United Nations Ambassador. But, as the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, Condi Rice “showed that she could charm the French and the Germans” during a European tour. Moreover:
Rice’s inner circle includes three veteran diplomats who have worked closely with her and are generally seen as pragmatic internationalists. They are Deputy Secretary Robert B. Zoellick, former U.S. trade representative; R. Nicholas Burns, recently the U.S. ambassador to NATO; and Philip D. Zelikow, a lawyer, diplomat and historian who was staff director of the Sept. 11 commission.
These men — and perhaps Zoellick in particular — are very well-respected in Europe.
So we find the controversial figures dispatched to global institutions and the amenable figures concentrated in the State Department. Naturally, our allies are bound to gravitate towards Foggy Bottom when major issues arise, which is more than likely what the Bush administration wants in the second term, when mending ties is supposed to be the priority. Meanwhile, Wolfowitz and Bolton can work on whipping their respective bodies into shape. In particular, they can ideally try to reform the organizations more to our liking.
It seems to me that these nominations fall in line with Bush’s general preference for “coalitions of the willing” as opposed to international institutions. His most trusted sidekick is tasked with strengthening alliances, while bulldogs are charged with shaking up inert bodies in the wake of the Oil-for-Food scandal.