Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A New Hope

Democracy Arsenal has some optimism about the Bush Administration's seriousness on diplomacy. Rice has pretty much staffed State fully and thoroughly with seasoned diplomats that have good track records, and more importantly a track record of moderation and work in international organizations.

The rundown, from DA:

"Robert Zoellick, her Deputy Secretary. He’s a politically loyal Republican, to be sure, but a direct descendant of the pragmatic Baker school (along with Dennis Ross, he ran the Department under Baker). He’s tough and has some faults (just ask the Japanese), but is one of the Administration’s best diplomats – in fact, as USTR during the first term, he was the Administration’s only effective diplomat. He also believes deeply in international institutions – it was Zoellick, working under Baker and then Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, who engineered the creation of APEC in 1989-1990.

Nick Burns, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, State’s number three official. A career foreign service officer, he was a top aide and spokesperson for Clinton’s first Secretary of State, Warren Christopher. He just served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO, where he was superb – he did a great job with a very bad brief. He worked on Zoellick’s staff, and later as Rice’s deputy, during the first Bush Administration.

Philip Zelikow, Rice’s Counselor. Recently served as executive director of the 9-11 commission (where there were grumblings about his partisanship), and has been assigned with troubleshooting and overseeing State’s counter-terrorist and intelligence bureaus. Chapter 12 of the 9-11 commission report is practically a playbook for progressive internationalism – and an inherent indictment of Bush’s first term – and let’s hope that Zelikow works to put into practice what he preached. He co-authored with Rice a chronicle of a major U.S. diplomatic triumph, the unification of Germany during 1989-1990, and along with Nick Burns, was a Zoellick staffer in the Baker State Department."

It continues with more key personnel summaries. I think the shift has been more obvious lately. Essentially, after all these wars, C-Plus Augustus needs policies and institutions to support and sustain the accomplishments. Everyone's beginning to realize unilateralism may be able to accomplish dramatic things, but longevity in regional shifts won't happen without diplomacy and institution-building.