November 08, 2006
Rumsfeld Stepping Down
In the wake of popular dissatisfaction over the mishandling of Iraq (as shown in yesterday's elections), AP reports that Rumsfeld will be stepping down from his post as Secretary of Defense.
I'm sure members of our peanut gallery have opinions about potential shifts in US foreign policy now that Democrats have control of the House (and perhaps the Senate?). Feel free to yammer on and post links as things develop.
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that's a tough call. Quite frankly, while i expect less belligirency (for ex. re: Iran) on the whole Dems & Reps don't really have that different of a world view.
So I don't expect any change on the Israel/Palestine issue, the Syria/Lebanon question, the dealing with Islamists, etc.pp.
As for Iraq ... even a Dem controlled congress won't just pull out the troops. And THAT situation is pretty much f.u.b.a.r., only that this time the "r" doesn't stand for "recognition" but instead for "repair".
Posted by: MSK at November 8, 2006 02:01 PM
Foreign policy still resides with the presidency, formally. But there are committees and such, that could annoy Bush no end, and the House could always withhold funding. It's a very open question.
Indeed, I'm thinking about all the ways Bush might be cockblocked by an uncooperative House.
Posted by: eerie at November 8, 2006 02:17 PM
it's only an open question on those issues where Dem foreign policy significantly deviates from Rep/Bush foreign policy. And where actually DOES it?
Posted by: MSK at November 8, 2006 02:31 PM
E: you make me smile.
all: is the new guy (some ex-CIA chief) going to be any better? once a new official drinks the kool-aid it seems like its all over for them.
E: seriously... cockblock? the last several weeks have been transforming my oppinion of you from a 30something introvert recluse to a mid20's hipster that knows all the cool kid lingo. be careful! you might disenfranchize your base.
New favourite word, to be inserted - or rather rammed vigorously with no lube - into every sentence.
Posted by: secretdubai at November 8, 2006 05:33 PM
First, precision in language is very important. Second, my vocabulary isn't limited to standard dictionary words.
Cockblock was simply the most appropriate term for my impression of Bush-House dynamics in the future.
the last several weeks have been transforming my oppinion of you from a 30something introvert recluse to a mid20's hipster that knows all the cool kid lingo. be careful! you might disenfranchize your base.
Once again I am mystified by my own internet persona.
Posted by: eerie at November 8, 2006 06:04 PM
I saw quite a few changes from Clinton to Bush. First, Bush didn't devote an ounce of effort into solving or mediating in the Palestine conflict. A Dem congress and senate would also have fought much harder against invading Iraq, even with 9-11 hysteria. It would have pushed for multilateralism and adherence to UN, Kyoto, instead of a neanderthal approach to everything. But with a Rep president, it's hard to say how succesful it would have been.
I think, by and large, the Dems cowered in fear the past six years simply because they would have been voted down anyway in both houses, and then called terrorist sympathisers. It's also quite likely that they would have taken a severe beating at the polls, had they vigorously opposed Bush. A combination of fear, hysteria and domestic realpolitik. This comment explains it quite well. Great site, btw. Here's a quote:
We were afraid, we were angry, and somebody - anybody - had to pay. Bush wasn't the only one that wanted this war, the American people did, and that was proven in the 2002 elections. If any war was subject to public disapproval before it started, if any war could have been prevented by the American people simply saying "no," the war in Iraq was that war. Had the public been against the war - or even split 50/50 - the president would have seen his party creamed in 2002. The Republicans picked up seats, and those who voted against the "blank check" were removed from office by the voters. (...) There was no way to rationally discuss the invasion of Iraq because we were simply shouted down - in my case literally, on the campus of UCLA, during what was supposed to be a "teach-in" on the issues facing our nation - instead the pro-war voices shouted us down, and the next day the far-left showed up to wave red flags with hammers and sickles and to oppose "imperialist America" - that was the way the "debate" was characterized - if I didn't support invading Iraq, I had to go stand with the enemies of America.
Oh how they agonize over the decision to go to war, those Americans. It's like a manic-depressive nation.
Posted by: Klaus at November 8, 2006 06:41 PM
I don't think you quite grasp the dynamic. The Democrats don't know what to do about Iraq. Moreover, they haven't the power, short of eliminating funding for the Pentagon to do anything about it. (So far, funds for Iraq have been approved in separate appropriations bills but that's just sloppiness. It shouldn't be that way and you can bet that, now, it won't be that way anymore.)
But more fundamentally, the Democrats wouldn't do anything about Iraq if they could. Iraq is a weapon with which they may beat the Republicans vigorously about the head and shoulders. Should they become actively involved in trying to clean out that particular latrine, they'd soon get covered in muck too.
In the perfect world for the Democrats, nothing will change for the next two years, they'll completely avoid taking any responsibility and they'll use their majority to do dozens of investigations into the Republican conduct, and misconduct, of the war.
BTW, does anyone know where L has been?
Posted by: Anonymous at November 8, 2006 09:05 PM
I was at a talk on leadership today at a major Washington DC institution, one given by a highly regarded and well-connected former officer who kept contrasting the current president's strategy with those of Lincoln and FDR. Rumsfeld was repeatedly denounced in the first hour. When news came in that he'd resigned, the aforementioned officer led the entire room in applause. Nobody I have met in this city, from foreign affairs practitioners to people on the street, has had a high opinion of the Bush administration.
Posted by: dubaiwalla at November 8, 2006 09:08 PM
"a mid20's hipster"
Hmmmm...drdougfir, does this mean some kind of diet is in order for eerie ?
Posted by: zenpundit at November 9, 2006 12:00 AM
z: no, it means she is an amazing latin dancer (swiveling hips...)
Eh. Here in NJ, both Dems voted for the military commissions bill, the one that lets the Prez rewrite the Geneva Conventions as he sees fit.
Hunter Thompson had it right years and years ago, when he wrote a book about the current generation of Americans, and called it a "Generation of Swine".
Self-centered, extraordinarily egotistical and, as the 2002 and 2004 elections showed, along with that bill and the Iraq war, cowardly to a degree you wouldn't think possible in what is supposed to be a free people.
Up until just now, all Bush & Rove had to do was say "The terrists are coming!" Nothing else was necessary. If there's another attack, nothing else will be necessary.
As for the Dem who was up for re-election here in NJ who voted for that bill: he won. He made the right calculation; nobody gave a fuck. Until that changes, nothing else will.
Posted by: pantom at November 9, 2006 12:16 AM
Anon: BTW, does anyone know where L has been?
Closing a deal, last I heard.
Wait, why would inhabitants of the ether know more than you?
Zen/DrDoug: Perhaps we should standardize our terms.
Posted by: eerie at November 9, 2006 12:18 AM
anonymous, the question is if Dems, holding both houses, can avoid taking responsibility for Iraq in the eyes of the voters. Who did vote for change. If nothing happens, if USA stays and bleeds in Iraq, it's possible libertarians and independents will drift back to voting Republican. It's hard to say. It's going to be spun a lot.
E: okay, okay. hipster refers to your lovely hips. there. it's settled.
I am alive. However greed and the like has me focused on closing a large deal which I am lead on. Given schmoozing and work duties, and only 24 hours in a day, afraid I shall be absent for another week at min.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at November 9, 2006 06:02 PM
As for the Dem who was up for re-election here in NJ who voted for that bill: he won
Pantom, what were his constituents supposed to vote for, the Green candidate? The Republican?
I mean I agree with you that nobody gives a fuck, but I don't think you can pin that down on him being re-elected, unless you can point me to a non-dem, non-rep candidate that had any kind of profile in NJ. (I'm Canadian so I obviously wouldn't pay attention to an NJ race :])
Posted by: Frandroid Atreides at November 9, 2006 07:13 PM
His opponent was the son of Tom Kean, a Rep who was an amazingly good governor of this state. I considered myself a Dem, and I still voted for his dad, and I voted for the son, because I considered him a very acceptable alternative to such spinelessness. Yes, he probably would've voted for the same bill, had he been there. That doesn't mean I shouldn't punish the Dem for betraying his constituents. If he goes without punishment, as he did, it sends the wrong message.
Which message got sent, because no one cared. Lieberman, in Connecticut, who also voted for that bill, was re-elected as well, and he was running as an independent against an anti-war Democrat.
Need I say more?
Posted by: pantom at November 9, 2006 10:25 PM
This has already been pretty widely circulated, but still: "Is it just me, or has this been a shitty week?"
Posted by: Tom Scudder at November 10, 2006 03:09 AM
Of course there will not be change in American foreign policy since the Democrats and Republicans are virtually the same on foreign policy issues, in fact if anything the Republicans seems to be setting the agenda. However, it is hoped the departure of Rumsfeld may set a new posture, new language and tone. The man is seen as a politician who has the habbit of making people scream at their television sets. A new man could have the knack of "flushing" the anger against the prevailing American foreign policy. But one has to understand there are others in the Adminstration which people are not too happy about, like Condoleezza Rice, the illusterious American Secretary of State, she may have to go as well. But this is only the tip of the ice-burg if the Repulicans are looking down the road to the next presidential election which is really around the corner. The problem with this adminstration is it has created a foreign policy mess, its view of the world is "coldwarish" and may not be in tune with the new times of globalization, and in the end it is voters who have to make the choice. Unfortunately, they too look at the world differently, being cynically manipulated by a whole host of other factors not least of all by the media and by the political brokers who run the mega-ton party organizations like the democrats and republicans.
Posted by: marwan asmar at November 11, 2006 03:53 AM
I still reject the idea that there is no difference in foreign policy between Reps and Dems. There used to be much less, but with the rise and fall of neocons the difference is huge, presently. The 'coldwarish' view I can't follow, since US administrations acted with far more guile and diplomacy during the Cold War. Oh they were sneaky. Bush 43 is a neanderthal by classic American standards.