Washington's Intricate Policy

The present American administration is much more successful with the solution of international problems than with domestic ones
Condoleezza Rice say her job is to let Colin speak to people until he gets exhausted, while, she allows Donald to tell his listeners he will deliver a smack on the back of their heads if they are inattentive.

Talks about two opposed groups in the US administration (traditionally called "hawks" and "doves") have been continuing for a long period. It is said that the hawks are headed by Donald Rumsfeld, and Colin Powell is at head of the doves. And George W. Bush in turn seems to be standing beyond the collision, but, nevertheless, he considers the advice of this or that side from time to time very attentively. Such is the proven rule - Divide et Impere.

In fact, we cannot speak seriously about grave contradictions in the sitting administration. There are certainly some different points of view in the foreign policy sphere, but they are rather of a tactical, not strategic, nature. When one speaks about contradictions in the White House, one means exactly the US foreign policy. The present-day American administration is much more successful with the solution of international problems (or with creation of them) that with settlement of its domestic problems.

However, it is not quite correct to deny the fact of conflicts taking place between the hawks and the doves, as the White House spokespersons (even Rumsfeld and Powell themselves) do. In fact, there are discrepancies between the two poles and, from time to time, they become public.

It is the secretary of state who suffers most of all as a result of these contradictions. The right wing of the Republican Party is not satisfied with the work of the US State Department aimed at maintaining the White House's general line on the international scene. Last week, Newt Gingrich, ex-speaker of the Congress's House of Representatives, and now a member of the defense council in the US Department of Defense, criticized Colin Powell. In his speech, he called activity of the US State Department "a diplomatic failure."

This rather harsh statement made George W. Bush intervene in the case. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher said that the president rated the work of Colin Powell and the State Department as "excellent." Ari Fleisher said the diplomatic project realized by the State Department under the direction of Colin Powell was the presidential one. The reason for this squabble between the American politicians is obvious; it is connected with consequences of the Iraqi war. There is no doubt that Donald Rumsfeld supports Newt Gingrich.

On the whole, the Pentagon has recently turned into a true shelter for ultra-right conservatives, and they were obviously dissatisfied with the decision of George W. Bush to give up the idea of a military operation against Syria. That was a plan on which Donald Rumsfeld and his team insisted after they were overjoyed with the success of the fast Iraqi operation. However, the plans faced a hindrance in the face of Colin Powell, who urged the US president not to be hasty about waging a new war. At least, this opinion arises from observing the zigzags of American policy as seen from the outside within the past weeks.

It is important to mention that the secretary of state wasn't a consistent advocate of war against Iraq, as well as the secretary of defense himself. To all appearances, Colin Powell and his team still think that strengthening of US's leading role in the world is possible only with support of as many countries as possible. And this fact in its turn suggests a more flexible approach in which the specific character of this or that country is taken into consideration. The take on power propagated by Rumsfeld, Cheney and other hawks may help achieve a tactical success, not a strategic one.

In fact, the discrepancies between the hawks and the doves cannot change the main objective of the US administration: To strengthen the US's leading role on the international scene. The problem is that it's not clear yet how fast it will be possible to achieve the goal. From this point of view, the softer approach of Colin Powell is more promising than the striving of Donald Rumsfeld and his team to do away with all problems at one stroke. The problem is that this haste may cause much trouble in the future. And there will be problems not only for the USA.

Author`s name Michael Simpson