The most significant, this week marked the end of the Cheney Presidency. With the departure of Rumsfeld it became obvious that the keys to power had been snatched from the adolescent in the White House and his crazy friend, Dick Cheney, had been sent to his bunker.The TimesOnline picks up on that today.
Just like old times: realists from the first Bush era return to power
Two years ago they were the pariahs of neoconservative Washington, a group of soft-spined old timers who refused to see that the only way to defeat America’s enemies was with the lethal might of the US military.Cheney VS Scowcroft
But within hours of Donald Rumsfeld’s enforced resignation on Wednesday, and in the clearest of signs that President Bush has turned to his father to dig him out of a mess in Iraq, the foreign policy “realists” who dominated US diplomacy in the early 1990s have been suddenly restored to the helm.
In choosing Robert Gates, the former CIA Director, to replace Mr Rumsfeld as Defence Secretary, Mr Bush completed an extraordinary recall to duty for the White House foreign policy team that advised his father, while ending the influence of the neoconservatives who had disparaged them after Mr Bush took office in 2000.
Mr Gates comes from a circle of national security aides who counselled the first President Bush from 1989 to 1992. They loathe the neoconservative world view and their swift re-emergence signals a profound change in how Mr Bush will deal with Iraq, Iran and the Middle East during the last two years of his presidency.
Along with Mr Gates, Mr Bush has also turned to James Baker, the first President Bush’s Secretary of State, to guide his foreign policy. He and Mr Gates sit on the Iraq Study Group — Mr Baker heads it — which is due to report shortly on how to proceed in Iraq.
They are expected to advocate direct negotiations with Iran and Syria to help the US in Iraq — anathema to hardliners such as Dick Cheney and neoconservatives — and to abandon the goal of making Iraq a stable democracy. Mr Gates also co-authored a report in 2004 with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Adviser, in which they advocated offering incentives to Iran, including the ending of sanctions, to persuade Tehran to stop short of building nuclear weapons.
Mr Gates, who expressed grave doubts about the invasion of Iraq, also told the Bush Administration just two years ago that hopes of regime change in Iran were totally unrealistic and that the refusal of the Administration to talk directly to Tehran “was harming US interests”. He also said that efforts to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict should be at the heart of US foreign policy.
Cheney has been at odds with Bush 41 "realists" like Brent Scowcroft from day one and after creating one debacle after another it appears that Cheney and the rest of the PNAC crowd may have been exorcised.
Mr Gates is a disciple of the grand old man of US foreign policy realists, Brent Scowcroft, who was the first President Bush’s National Security Adviser. Mr Scowcroft, an old friend of the Bush family, has been totally shunned by the current Administration and adamantly opposed the invasion of Iraq. He has been an outspoken critic of the neoconservative vision of transforming the world through the use of American force. Now, he is again back in the ascendency.Ed Morrissey discusses the above commentary and the changing chain of power and seems to be neutral on the changes.
At this point, Bush seems to have turned on a dime after the midterm debacle. We will have to wait and see whether this turnabout actually protects America as much as it appears intended to protect the White House.He also points out that Cheney's input has been reduced if not all but eliminated.
Brzezinski also mentioned the blow this appointment gives to Dick Cheney, who has suddenly begun looking like a traditional Vice-President: isolated and decreasingly influential. Jimmy Carter's former national-security advisor told the Times that Cheney tried to keep Bush from essentially firing Rumsfeld, a rumor that has passed around DC since the announcement yesterday, and that appointing Gates makes Cheney's marginalization complete. Condoleezza Rice is said to already be on board with the move away from the "neocon" approach in favor of the Baker/Scowcroft flavor of foreign policy.While I may have had problems with the Bush 41/Scowcroft foreign policy it's return will be like a breath of fresh air after the six years of Cheney madness.