Saturday, May 10, 2003

Things have really gone downhill in the power struggle between the State Dept and the DoD over who is running US foreign policy:

Diplomats are paid to have cool minds and even cooler temperaments, but inside the beleaguered State Department, plenty of America's elite diplomats are privately seething. They are up in arms about what they see as the hijacking of foreign policy-making by the Pentagon and efforts to undercut their boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell. "I just wake up in the morning and tell myself, `There's been a military coup,' and then it all makes sense," said one veteran foreign service officer.

The first two years of the Bush administration has seen what the diplomat called a "tectonic shift" of decision-making power on foreign policy from State to the Defense Department, one that has seen the Pentagon become the dominant player on such key issues as Iraq, North Korea and Afghanistan. "Why aren't eyebrows raised all over the United States that the secretary of defense is pontificating about Syria?" said the official, who declined to be identified. "Can you imagine the defense secretary after World War II telling the world how he was going to run Europe?" he added, noting that it was Secretary of State George Marshall who delivered that seminal speech in 1947.

Leading conservatives and Pentagon officials say such comments show the State Department's failure to grasp how profoundly global politics and U.S. foreign policy interests have been redefined, especially in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. President Bush's national security strategy calls for a forward-leaning, muscular foreign policy to prevent terrorists and "rogue" states from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, and to confront such threats by military force, if necessary, before they reach American shores. "Anyone who thinks that you can conveniently separate foreign policy, diplomacy, national security and war-fighting is clueless about the realities of global affairs, power politics and modern (war)," a senior Pentagon official said.

[Via Blah3]