Wednesday :: Feb 14, 2007

Foreign Policy Through Speechwriting

by Steve

Our national security advisor, now Secretary of State, in action:

In a pattern that would become familiar, however, a chill quickly followed the warming in relations. Barely a week after the Tokyo meeting, Iran was included with Iraq and North Korea in the "Axis of Evil." Michael Gerson, now a NEWSWEEK contributor, headed the White House speechwriting shop at the time. He says Iran and North Korea were inserted into Bush's controversial State of the Union address in order to avoid focusing solely on Iraq. At the time, Bush was already making plans to topple Saddam Hussein, but he wasn't ready to say so. Gerson says it was Condoleezza Rice, then national-security adviser, who told him which two countries to include along with Iraq. But the phrase also appealed to a president who felt himself thrust into a grand struggle. Senior aides say it reminded him of Ronald Reagan's ringing denunciations of the "evil empire."
Once again, Iran's reformists were knocked back on their heels. "Those who were in favor of a rapprochement with the United States were marginalized," says Adeli. "The speech somehow exonerated those who had always doubted America's intentions." The Khameini aide concurs: "The Axis of Evil speech did not surprise the Supreme Leader. He never trusted the Americans."

I wathced the Charlie Rose show last night, and saw Iran's UN ambassador make a credible case that they have been ready to negotiate not only the nuclear program but also regional issues for years now, only to be rebuffed every time by the Bush Administration. He confirmed that the initial post-9/11 assistance that Iran gave to our Afghanistan war and the toppling of the Taliban could have been followed up with a larger agreement on their nuclear program, regional security, and a joint effort to eliminate Al Qaeda, if only the "Axis of Evil" speech didn't ruin that possibility. And now we find out that Condi, Gerson, and former speechwriter David Frum threw North Korea and Iran into the speech simply to mask their sole focus on Iraq from the American people. In doing this, they not only blew up a significant opportunity for security that our troops are dying for today, but they also showed that they saw North Korea as nothing more than a rhetorical device instead of engaging in negotiations that could have prevented the regime from developing 6-8 bombs.

That's our Condi.

Steve :: 7:48 AM :: Comments (17) :: Digg It!