Friday, May 09, 2003

State Dept Diplomats seething over Pentagon takeover
'"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.

'Diplomats interviewed for this story — all of whom insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the political infighting — said they are profoundly worried about what they describe as the administration's arrogance or indifference to world public opinion, which they fear has wiped out, in less than two years, decades of effort to build goodwill toward the United States.'

'They cite as an example fallout from Iran being included in Bush's "axis of evil." Under the Clinton and Bush administrations, the State Department had been ordered to try to befriend Iranian moderates in order to counter that nation's Islamic fundamentalists. During the war in Afghanistan, American diplomats persuaded Tehran to allow U.S. military jets to fly over Iranian territory, a surprise foreign policy success.

'However, within hours of Bush's State of the Union speech last year linking Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil," Tehran canceled U.S. overflight rights, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations. "It has taken them an incredibly short time" to anger many other nations, said one veteran senior diplomat.'

The neo-cons will of course counter that we have the military power and should use it. The stakes are high for them. Either they use the military to follow through their ambitions or they will be discredited. Powell could in the end be their nemesis. He is as good a diplomat as Rumsfeld is a bad one.

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