Will Dick Cheney Be The Stumbling Block After The Elections?
If The Democrats Win There Is Likely To Be A Change In Iraq Policy, Right?
Not necessarily, writes Steve Clemmons. He predicts that even if the Democrats take one or more houses of Congress and even if the bipartisan commission on Iraq headed by the first President Bush’s Secretary of State James Baker suggests substantive policy changes it ain’t necessarily gonna happen due to one key factor: Vice President C-H-E-N-E-Y:
But Bush will not go quietly — and more importantly — the allies for a better direction in foreign policy who actually do exist in hidden corners of the Bush administration are dominated by Cheney’s followers throughout the national security bureaucracy.
I think that the Baker-Hamilton report, which will be issued in January 2007, will call for a new, expansive commitment to regional deal-making to solve many of the unresolved problems in the Middle East and to try and create a new equilibrium of interests in the region.
I think George Bush will find the report compelling — and I think he will order his team to try and “operationalize” as much of the Baker-Hamilton report as possible.
But it won’t happen. It will be undermined in the weeds, in the nuts and bolts details, consensus will be derailed, themes reversed after Cheney convinces Bush that parts of the report are politically naive and dangerous to American and Israeli interests. I think it will be slowly torn apart by a thousand cuts in the policy development and implementation process in the Executive Branch.
He believes “the next two years are going to be politically bloody and difficult ones for the nation and the world.” His key point: Cheney and his faction are deeply embedded in key policy areas and need to be weeded out or purged before there can be changes. And he’s probably correct. Cheney put ideological allies throughout the governnment and cabinet (one is Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld).
If the GOP loses one or more houses, then perhaps more thoughtful Republicans who are not part of the Bush faction presently controlling the party and government elite can begin to reassert their influence on government, policy — and their own party.
But, as Clemmons suggests, no change is going to come easy.