Friday, January 7, 2005
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Here's what I hear about Zoellick
Robert Zoellick will be moving from from U.S. trade representative to Deputy Secretary of State. Here's the Bloomberg report by Glenn Hall:
Schmitt's approving comments suggest that Matthew Yglesias might be jumping the gun in claiming that the neocons lost this round -- though it's equally possible that Schmitt is just spinning.
Matt points out the difficulty in deciphering Zoellick's own political preferences:
To which Brad DeLong replies:
I assume Brad is hearing that after reading the Ron Susskind book.
For the record, what I've heard about Zoellick at USTR is that he did the best he could with a weak hand -- i.e., Bush was never willing to commit significant amounts of politial capital in favor of more vigorous trade policies. Perhaps you could blame Zoellick for being unable to persuade Bush otherwise, but I suspect henever got the chance. Given this constraint, Zoellick worked hard to keep the Doha round on track while simultaneously attempting "competitive liberalization" as a policy. Given the policy environment he was operating in, I'd give Zoellick a B+.
As for Zoellick's deep thoughts on foreign policy, I would recommend his article "A Republican Foreign Policy" in the January/February 2000 issue of Foreign Affairs. It was the less-noticed companion piece to Condoleezza Rice's essay in the same issue.
Here's one section from Zoellick's article:
posted by Dan on 01.07.05 at 05:08 PM
Zoellick's iron-clad grasp of the patently obvious is impressive.
That that puts him in the upper decile in BushCo is the sad part.posted by: Barry P. on 01.07.05 at 05:08 PM [permalink]
Given the limited interest in trade issues in the White House Zoellick's accomplishments at USTR have been remarkable. I regret his move to State only because Bush is unlikely to replace him as USTR with anyone near as able.
On the other hand, the fact is that Ms. Rice will need a strong number 2 more than most Secretaries of State. It is unlikely that President Bush will want to dispense completely with the briefings and emotional support she has provided as NSA, and that were in fact her primary function in that post. This will mean Rice will be spending a lot of time at State out of the building, and someone will need to run the Department when she's gone.
For what it's worth, what I have heard is that Zoellick did not simply accept this appointment, but first negotiated some terms as to what his responsibilities will be. I don't know what that means, exactly -- it could, I suppose, mean anything from Zoellick's being the point man on policy toward specific areas of the world (e.g. Latin America) to his being the means to allow State to poach jurisdiction over international economic policy away from Treasury. Or something else. We'll see.posted by: Zathras on 01.07.05 at 05:08 PM [permalink]
Barry P: While his comments may seem patently obvious, I suspect there are many who would disagree with his goals.
The value of the piece is its clear statements that are easy to understand and interpret.
I most like his claim that results matter, not posturing. I have long felt that a distingushing feature of GWB's is his focus on results.
He truly wants to achieve goals, not just appear to achieve goals.posted by: tallan on 01.07.05 at 05:08 PM [permalink]
It's a sign of the times that comments like this
Zoellicks enmity towards these people is not subject to reasonable discussion:
"People driven by enmity or by a need to dominate will not respond to reason or goodwill."
Simplified simplism is considered foreign policy these days.posted by: Duh on 01.07.05 at 05:08 PM [permalink]
Haven't seen that many straw men in just five paragraphs in quite a while. Then there's the significant disconnect between Zoellick's rhetoric and practice under GWB.
"U.S. policy should respect the histories, perspectives, and concerns of other nations," Whoops.
"a modern Republican foreign policy emphasizes building and sustaining coalitions and alliances."
"Republicans judge international agreements and institutions as means to achieve ends" Except for those they have a fetish about denouncing as loudly and publicly as possible, even when this is detrimental to the national interest.
"The United States must remain vigilant and have the strength to defeat its enemies." As opposed to having an enormous share of our available forces tied down in a land war in Asia.
Have fun with those principles, Bob, you may be the only one who has them.posted by: Doug on 01.07.05 at 05:08 PM [permalink]
Zoellick strikes me as an extremely capable individual. As I recall, he earned a law degree from Harvard. I have also heard that Zoellick is a rather arrogant man who tends to look down on other individuals. Is this true?posted by: RM on 01.07.05 at 05:08 PM [permalink]
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