Wednesday, May 9, 2007

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Time for the September call-ups in foreign policy

The Financial Times' Edward Luce reports that the Bush administration might have to put out a "Help Wanted" sign for its foreign policy team:

The Bush administration is facing growing difficulties in filling a rising number of high-level vacancies following a recent spate of senior departures.

In the last 10 days alone Mr Bush has lost four senior officials and more resignations are expected to follow. “I wouldn’t describe this as disintegration,” said one senior official. “But there are worrying large gaps opening up and it is very hard to recruit high-quality people from outside.”

Recent departures include J.D. Crouch, the deputy head of the national security council, who wants to spend more time with his family, and Randall Tobias, the head of USAID, who resigned after it was revealed that he used a call girl agency for “legal” erotic services. Mr Bush has also lost Dina Habib Powell, the administration’s most senior Arab-American, who is leaving the State Department to join the private sector, and Timothy Adams, the number three at the Treasury department.

Officials say that the flurry of departures is not unusual during the latter part of a second term and deny there are common themes driving their exits. But they come at a time when Mr Bush is having difficulty filling the new position of “war czar” to oversee the administration’s prosecution of the war in Iraq.

The last two years of an unpopular lame-duck presidency have the same feel of a losing baseball team's last month of the season. In September, all teams call up promising minor league players to see if they can hack it in The Show. In both cases, organizations respond to failure by giving the kids a chance to screw up.

The Bush administration will fill these positions because.... well, because they have little choice. My guess is that, rather than getting people with resumes commensurate with the positions (i.e., Paulson, Gates), they'll have to go a bit younger.

[Why would anyone take these jobs?--ed. Because if they want to get even better positions the next time a Republican takes office, they need to punch their ticket now. Are you one of these people?--ed. Not after this statement, no.]

posted by Dan on 05.09.07 at 05:07 PM


War czar.

Isn't that the job of the President? Commander-in-chief?

posted by: Wisewon on 05.09.07 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

Thank Lord your final answer is NO!

Well, not because I think we are spared of your policy if you had taken an Administration position; but I truly believe it will be good for any upright person not to get associated with this 'immoral administration'.

And yes we do want to get back to read your blogs.

posted by: Umesh Patil on 05.09.07 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

Don't forget that Meghan O'Sullivan resigned recently also. Remember her? She wrote the second best book on economic sanctions.

posted by: Andrew on 05.09.07 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

Are you one of these people?

Why would Drezner's editor ask such a question? Did the editor forget that Drezner supported Kerry, not Bush, in the last election?

posted by: A.S. on 05.09.07 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

A.S.: In Year Seven of a lame-duck administration, the HR guys can't be too choosy.

Moreso considering that there is no possibility of the administration continuing under an elevated Vice President. Someone taking a job in 1999 or 1987 could reasonably expect to continue if VP Gore or VP Bush were elected. Not so for this Administration.

posted by: John Bragg on 05.09.07 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

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