Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Sunday | June 01, 2003

Secretary of Everything

Donald Rumsfeld, when not desiging battleplans or recreating the CIA, is now America's chief expert in foreign policy. He rains down notes on his peers and tries to make policy unilaterally.

So how does such an out of control executive keep his job?

Because he does exactly what the boss wants him to. Insult allies, go ahead. Punish allies, fine. Make extralegal judgments? Fine.

Anyone who thinks Rummy is acting on his own is delusional. He isn't. He does and says what Bush would love to, but can't. Sure, maybe not pulling back from South Korea or dumping the Gitmo prisoners off, but Rumsfeld is a perfect foil for Bush and Cheney and their insanely muscular view of US power.

Bush is a weak executive who relies on a small coterie of personally loyal aides and minimizes his interaction with outsiders. He lets Rice serve as his filter to the world and Rummy to serve as his alter ego. He refuses to see the massive damage that Rumsfeld is doing to the world.

Without a deep descent into psychology, it is clear the Rumsfeld view of the world is one which totally rejects Poppy Bush's world of diplomacy and treaties. GW has decided that since the US is the richest and most powerful country on earth, we should do as we please and other should see our logic in most matters. The fact that such thinking is insane is besides the point.

GW Bush clearly is driven by some kind of internal competition with his father, but his lack of character has caused him to fail over and over. Instead of careful coalition building and alliances, he eschews them. Clearly, the Rumsfeld-Cheney foreign policy is a grotesque failure, leaving us exposed in Iraq and alienated from out allies. Yet another failure by GW Bush. But this time, his father's friends, shocked and alienated by his actions and Rummy's poisonous mouth, are more inclined to criticize him than bail him out.

One of the posters, altoid, has a beautiful description of imperial CEO management in the threads. Bush clearly manages as if correcting him is impossible. But the one thing about imperial CEO management which is rarely noted is that it fails and fails badly in most cases. Bush has never succeeded on his own in his entire life. His palid claim that trailers are weapons of mass destruction would be hysterical if he weren't serious. Our allies hear such statements with incredulity.

The problem with a Secretary of Everything, like Rumsfeld, who is detested by his military commanders, is that they have no sense of limits. Rumsfeld is living proof of the Peter Principle, a man promoted beyond his ability. In a modern world of democracies, he is a Cold Warrior who assumes his lead is the lead which will be followed. When it isn't., he acts petulantly.

In another administration, he would have been fired long ago. No other modern president would have tolerated a secretary of defense with such a personal, open agenda making policy and his disregard for the boundaries of his office. Nor of open talk of "punishing" allies we are bound to by treaty.

Ultimately. Rumsfeld will be seen as a liability to Bush as the Iraq policy falters and then fails. He's of an age where retriement would not bee unseemly and his relief would make many generals happy. While people see Powell as the Bush fall guy, he's far too popular and far too liable to make a stink if he's forced out and despite the right's fantasies, Condi Rice is no substitute. If anyone is going to take the fall for a failed policy, and the firing of Jay Garner should be a big hint of this, he sits in the E-Ring and not in Foggy Bottom.

Steve Gilliard

Posted June 01, 2003 08:49 PM | Comments (32)


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