Bush Will Have to Choose between Powell and Rumsfeld, Analyst Says
July 7, 2008 - 8:21 PM
Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - A former Republican presidential candidate predicted Wednesday that President Bush will soon be forced to decide which one of two "diametrically opposed world views" within his administration he will follow.
Gary Bauer, president of American Values, believes Bush's choice will impact both peace in the Middle East and the future security of the United States.
"There are two just, really, diametrically opposed world views here, and the president is increasingly going to have to decide between them," Bauer told CNSNews.com.
"A liberal worldview is in charge at the State Department. That has been the case for decades," he continued. "And, as of now, Secretary Powell shows no inclination to take on that liberal bureaucracy; some believe it's because, in many cases, he agrees with it."
Bauer acknowledged that some of the tension between the two departments may result from the typical Washington "turf wars," but he believes the rift is "much more fundamental than that.
"The State Department bureaucracy has had its own foreign policy for years, and it has tended to be a very U.N.-oriented, 'peace-at-any-cost,' anti-Israel, anti-defense spending, 'diplomacy can solve everything' sort of approach," Bauer explained.
"In contrast to that, the Defense Department has felt...the Pentagon has felt for years that we've been underestimating the dangers in the world and that, in fact, we have been in a war for over a decade against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism," he continued. "They believe the only response possible is to win that battle on the field of battle."
Gingrich Speech Focuses Attention on Opposing Philosophies
Attention was again focused on what have been called "differences of opinion" between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized Powell for what Gingrich called "six months of diplomatic failure" prior to the U.S.-led attack on Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by "one month of military success."
The State Department defended its involvement in the diplomatic efforts leading up to the U.S.-led invasion.
"I don't think we have anything to apologize for," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday. "I think this has been a broad effort on behalf of the whole administration to support a very important policy of the president, a series of decisions by the president, and I think we are proud to have been able to do our part."
The White House also tried to minimize the differences between Powell and Rumsfeld during the daily press briefing Tuesday, saying Powell had put forth "superb efforts" to carry out the president's policies.
"The president viewed the diplomatic process as a very important process that allowed for the military success to take place," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "And the fact of the matter is the State Department and Secretary Powell did an excellent job at ushering through that process."
The President Will Be Forced to Choose
But Bauer believes the Bush administration is complimenting Powell only to prevent a frenzy in the liberal establishment media.
"I think the White House, from a purely public relations standpoint, is horrified at the possibility that this vehement battle going on between State and Defense will become an ongoing news story," Bauer speculated. "So they're going to try to do everything they can to signal that the president has the utmost confidence in both Secretary of State Powell and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld."
Public image concerns aside, Bauer warns that Bush will only be able to juggle the two opposing philosophies for a limited time.
"No matter what Ari Fleischer says, the fact of the matter is there is a deep, deep division, there is a tremendous amount of bureaucratic sparring going on, and increasingly, on issues ranging from the creation of a Palestinian state to how we deal with North Korea and Syria," Bauer predicted, "the president will be forced to choose one approach or the other."
'That Could End up Bringing Us Disaster in the Middle East'
Bauer was "confident" during the buildup to the war against Saddam Hussein "that the president's instincts would lead him to side with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld." He is not so confident, however, about such dilemmas in the future.
"I have real concerns whether now, in the aftermath of that, the president may be more likely to listen to the State Department on the creation of a Palestinian state," Bauer predicted. "I think that could end up bringing us a disaster in the Middle East."
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